New research shows that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine can prevent mutations found in two highly contagious coronavirus mutations in the UK and South Africa.
These variants have attracted global attention. Both of them have a common mutation called N501Y, which is a small change in one point of the spike protein covering the virus. It is believed that this change is the reason why they are so easily spread.
Most vaccines launched worldwide will train the human body to recognize and fight against this spike protein. Pfizer collaborated with researchers at the University of Texas at Galveston to conduct laboratory tests to understand whether this mutation affects the ability of its vaccine.
They used blood samples from 20 people who received vaccines produced by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, which were derived from a large-scale study of the lens. According to this study, the antibodies from those vaccinated successfully defended against the virus in the laboratory dish. It was posted on the researchers̵
This research is preliminary and has not been reviewed by experts. This is a key step in medical research.
Dr. Philip Domitzel, chief scientific officer of Pfizer, said: “For this vaccine, “at least surprisingly, at least this mutation is one of the mutations that people are most worried about, and it does not seem to be a problem.”
As the virus spreads from person to person, subtle changes continue to occur. Since the first discovery of the coronavirus in China about a year ago, scientists have used these subtle modifications to track how the coronavirus spread across the globe.
British scientists say that the variants found in the UK-now the main variants in parts of England-still appear to be sensitive to vaccines. This mutant has now been found in the United States and many other countries.
However, this variant, first discovered in South Africa, has an additional mutation that puts scientists on the edge, a mutation called E484K.
Pfizer’s research found that the vaccine seems to be able to fight another 15 possible viral mutations, but E484K is not in the test range. Dormitzer said it was next on the list.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top US infectious disease expert, recently stated that the vaccine is designed to identify multiple parts of the spike protein, so a single mutation may not be enough to stop them. But scientists all over the world are using different vaccines for research to find out.
Dormitzer said that if the virus eventually mutates enough to adjust the vaccine level (as flu vaccines are adjusted in most years), then it will not be difficult to adjust the formulation of the company’s vaccine and similar vaccines. The vaccine is made from a piece of viral genetic code and is easy to convert, although it is not clear what additional tests the regulator will need to make this change.
According to Dormitzer, this is just the beginning of “continuous monitoring of virus changes to see if there is anything that might affect vaccine coverage.”
The Associated Press Department of Health and Science is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. AP is solely responsible for all content.