The vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech against the coronavirus appears effective against a SARS-CoV-2 mutation shared by the new variants of the virus that emerged in UK and South Africa, according to a study conducted by the pharmacist and the University of Texas.
The study was published in the biorXiv repository, in which the texts have not yet been reviewed by other experts, although you can leave your comments.
Rapidly spreading variants from the UK and South Africa share the N501Y mutation, which is “of particular concern” because increases the affinity of the virus protein S for the human cell receptor, through which he enters it.
In the UK, where it was first identified, the new variant became the predominant form of the coronavirus in just three months, accelerating the nation’s rise in cases and filling its hospitals.
Serum samples were used for the study from the blood of 20 participants in a previous trial who had received the two doses of the vaccine and were drawn between two or four weeks after immunization.
A limitation of the study, the authors note, is that does not include the full set of mutations they “are found in fast-spreading strains in the UK or South Africa.”
The authors note that “the ongoing evolution of SARS-CoV-2 requires continuous vigilance of the importance of changes in vaccine coverage “.
This surveillance “is accompanied by preparations for the possibility that a future SARS-CoV-2 mutation will necessitate a change in the vaccine strain.”
A vaccine update, according to the study, “would be facilitated by the flexibility of vaccine technology which is based on messenger RNA technology. “
A vaccination center where the development of Pfizer in Israel is applied. Photo: AP.
The appearance of the new strains generated strong concern around the world. They even led to measures more quickly than at the beginning of the pandemic. Thus, for example, most European countries cut connections with the UK at the end of December.
In this context, the Secretary of Health of the United Kingdom, Matt Hancock, was very concerned about the new strain detected in southern Africa.
“We have taken very energetic measures to stop flights from South Africa,” he said while noting that it appears to be easier to transmit than the strain observed in his country.
For the scientific community, the South African strain presents multiple mutations in the protein called spicule, which the virus uses to infect human cells, the report disseminates.
On the other hand, they reveal that has a higher viral load, which implies a higher concentration of particles of the virus in the body of the infected and, in turn, higher levels of transmission.
Beyond the unknown extent of immunity that drugs can offer, the British Government will allow its citizens to receive a mixture of two different vaccines on rare occasions.
The United Kingdom, where Covid has already caused some 74,000 deaths, became the first country in the world to approve the use of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.
With information from EFE.