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Study suggests Pfizer vaccine is effective against coronavirus mutation

Study suggests Pfizer vaccine is effective against coronavirus mutation
© getty

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch suggests that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is effective against a mutation of the coronavirus.

The data published on preprint server bioRxiv suggests that the vaccine can neutralize a key mutation of the virus found in the strains found in the U.K. and South Africa.

Researchers tested sera of 20 participants that was drawn about two or four weeks after immunization with the vaccine from its large-scale, phase 3 trial. The study focused on the spike N501Y substitution, which ultimately enables the new strains to expand.

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"Pfizer, BioNTech, and UTMB are encouraged by these early, in vitro study findings. Further data are needed to monitor the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 caused by new virus variants," Pfizer and BioNTech said in a joint statement.

"If the virus mutates such that an update to the vaccine is required to continue to confer protection against COVID-19, we believe that the flexibility of BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA vaccine platform is well suited to enable an adjustment to the vaccine."

The study has not yet been peer-reviewed but comes as multiple countries deal with a number of variants of the strain. Late last year, a handful of countries imposed new travel restrictions in an attempt to limit the spread of the new strains.

A study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine previously found that the U.K. variant strain was 56 percent more contagious, with no evidence suggesting it is more deadly.

Moderna said late last year that it planned to test its vaccine against the new strain but said it was confident that the vaccine would still be effective.

Both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines have been found to be about 95 percent effective against the coronavirus.

Updated at 9:22 a.m.