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New Study Reveals Pfizer Vaccine Still Protects Against B.1.617, Kind Of

B.1.617 appears to be much more transmissible than earlier variations.

According to a new study by France’s Pasteur Institute, the Pfizer vaccine has been found to be less effective but still protect against B.1.617 (the variant that was first spotted in India), reported the Times of Israel

“Despite slightly diminished efficacy, the Pfizer vaccine probably protects” against the Indian variant, according to laboratory test results, said Olivier Schwartz, the institute’s director and co-author of the study that was published on the BioRxiv website. The research is still waiting for peer review.

A previous study, however, found that the vaccine did not provide as much protection against the B.1.351 variant (the strain that was first spotted in South Africa). Why it does provide protection against the B.1.617 strain has not been determined.

The new study evaluated 28 healthcare workers in the city of Orleans, sixteen of which had received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 12 of which had received one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The Pfizer recipients saw a three-fold reduction in their antibodies against the B.1.617 variant, according to the study, but were still protected.

The variant discussed here was first detected in India and appears to be much more transmissible than earlier variations. According to a World Health Organization report, it has now been officially spotted in 53 territories. 

Back in November of 2020, the Pfizer vaccine was found to prevent more than 90% of infections in a study of tens of thousands of volunteers. In December of 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially authorized Pfizer's vaccine for emergency use — paving the way for millions of people at risk of contracting the illness to receive a viable vaccine to the coronavirus in the next few days.

Then this month, the FDA announced that it expanded its approval of the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to adolescents from 12 to 15 years old in emergency cases. 

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