The coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech is likely to be just as effective against the new variant virus that was discovered in the U.K.
The variant, known as B.1.1.7, first emerged in the U.K in September; and has an unusually high number of mutations and is associated with more efficient and rapid transmission.
Researchers at BioNTech’s headquarters in Mainz found that a test-tube version of the virus-carrying all the new strains was neutralized by antibodies in the blood of 16 patients who had received the vaccine in previous trials, half of whom were over 55 years old.
Jonathan Stoye, a Specialist in virus science at Britain’s Francis Crick Institute said, “This makes it very unlikely that the UK variant will escape from the protection provided by the vaccine. It will be interesting to carry out the same experiments with the South African variant.”
Authors of the study warned that the rapid spread of COVID variants worldwide required “continuous monitoring of the significance of changes for maintained protection by currently authorized vaccines.”