Pfizer vaccine effective against UK strain, preliminary studies show
Wednesday, 20 January 2021
The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine appears to be effective against the UK strain of coronavirus, according to the results of two preliminary studies posted online Wednesday.
“Our results suggest that the majority of vaccine responses should be effective against the B.1.1.7 variant,” said an international team of researchers from British and Dutch universities in one of the two studies which are yet to be peer-reviewed.
To evaluate the vaccine’s effectiveness, the researchers compared the UK strain in the laboratory with the plasma of 36 patients cured after having undergone severe or milder forms of Covid-19. “The majority of the samples” were able to “neutralise” the variant, although the “power” of neutralisation was reduced in 3 of the samples.
In a separate preliminary study, a team of Pfizer and BioNTech researchers reached similar conclusions, comparing the effect of plasma from 16 participants in its clinical trials on the English variant and the original virus.
They concluded that the neutralisation capacity is “equivalent” for both and that it is unlikely that the UK strain “escapes protection” from their vaccine. If it does, they point out that the flexibility of the messenger RNA vaccine technology would allow the vaccine to be adapted to a new strain of the virus.
In a study posted online in early January, the two companies’ researchers had already found that the vaccine appeared to be effective against a “key mutation” common to the British, South African and Brazilian variants.