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Pfizer BioNTech vaccine appears to be effective against mutations in new strains



In the pharmacy of the University Hospital of Tubingen (UKT), a doctor holds a bottle of corona vaccine from Biontech and Pfizer between his fingers.

Sebastian Gollnow | Image Alliance | Getty Images

A laboratory study conducted by a US drugmaker showed that Pfizer and BioNTech̵

7;s Covid-19 vaccine appears to be resistant to key mutations in new highly transmissible coronavirus variants discovered in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Peer-reviewed studies by scientists at Pfizer and the University of Texas Medical Branch have shown that the vaccine can effectively neutralize the N501Y mutant virus with the spike protein.

Phil Domitzer, one of Pfizer’s leading virus vaccine scientists, said that this mutation may lead to greater transmission, and there are concerns that it may also neutralize the virus escape antibodies caused by the vaccine.

The study was conducted on blood drawn from people who were vaccinated. Its discovery is limited because it does not consider all the mutations found in the two new variants of the rapidly spreading virus.

Dormitzer said that it is encouraging that the vaccine appears to be effective against this mutation, as well as 15 other mutations that the company has previously tested.

He said: “So we have now tested 16 different mutations, and none of them really had a significant effect. This is good news.” “This does not mean that the 17th will not .”

Dormitzer pointed out that another mutation found in the South African variant, called the E484K mutation, is also worrying.

The researchers plan to conduct similar tests to see if the vaccine is effective against other mutations found in the British and South African variants, and hope to get more data in a few weeks.

Scientists are concerned that the introduction of vaccines may not be able to withstand new variants, especially the new variants emerging in South Africa.

Simon Clarke, associate professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said this week that although the two variants have some new features in common, a variant found in South Africa “has many other mutations,” including Wider changes to the peak. protein.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and a vaccine from Moderna that use synthetic messenger RNA technology can be quickly adjusted to resolve new mutations. It can be infected with viruses when necessary. Scientists suggest that these changes may be completed in just six weeks.


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