Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Proves Effective Against Brazil Variant in Lab

The vaccine also previously showed efficacy against the U.K. and South Africa variants in another study.
Fabienne Lang

Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated a high ability to neutralize the new Brazil coronavirus variant, as a recent study showed. 

In lab experiments, the vaccine's ability to neutralize the new strain was roughly equivalent to the vaccine's effect on a less contagious variant from last year. It also showed positive signs of neutralizing the South Africa variant, as per a letter detailing the study sent and published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The study was supported by Pfizer and BioNTech, and carried out by researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas.

It has to be noted that the study has yet to be validated with real-world data, as Bloomberg points out, but it still offers a glimmer of hope and trust that the COVID-19 vaccines are proving effective against various strains of the coronavirus.

What the study entailed

The team took blood samples two or four weeks after people had received their second Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine jab. The findings show that this blood neutralized an engineered version of the virus that had the same mutations carried on the spike section of the rapidly-spreading new variant found in Brazil, called P.1, Reuters reported.

The spike protein is the main target for many of the available COVID-19 vaccines.

Vaccine developers are already working on creating new versions of their COVID-19 vaccines to target these new variants, and it's good to see some of the already-existing vaccines are successful in neutralizing some of these new strains. 

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In another study, Pfizer already found that its vaccine neutralizes other more contagious variants, such as the ones first found in the U.K. and South Africa, per Reuters. The pharmaceutical company also believes its current vaccine is "highly likely" to protect against the South Africa variant. 

It's clear to see that more studies need to be carried out on COVID-19 vaccines, to measure their effectiveness against new strains of the virus. That said, it is promising to see the results of certain studies like the ones mentioned in this article.

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