The vaccine developed by the Pfizer and BioNTech laboratories preserves practically all its effectiveness against British and South African variants of the Covid-19 virus, the two companies reported in a statement Thursday.
The in vitro tests carried out with the original virus and the registered mutations “did not demonstrate the need for a new vaccine”, according to the two laboratories, which nevertheless underline that they continue to “monitor these variants and are ready to react“If any of them finally resist the vaccine.
Pfizer and BioNTech are based on a researchers study from the University of Texas and from a Pfizer expert, “supported” by the two laboratories and published (but not yet reread by other specialists) on the specialized page bioRxiv.
The authors confronted the antibodies generated by 20 vaccinated people with the two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech during clinical trials to three mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus created in a laboratory and that included the main mutations of the British and South African variants of the virus.
These mutations are located in the spike protein of the coronavirus, those spikes so characteristic that they are on its surface and allow it to adhere to human cells to penetrate them.
“Plasma from individuals who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine neutralized all variants of the virus SARS-CoV-2 tested, “the companies stressed, while acknowledging that neutralization was”slightly weaker“in the three mutations of the South African variant than in the three mutations of the British variant.
A previous study by South African researchers, published last week, already pointed to this increased resistance of the South African variant.
The two laboratories emphasize that they will continue with their studies of these mutations, especially the South African one, and that “they will monitor the efficacy of the vaccine in the world” in the face of the emergence of new variants.
However, they believe that the “flexibility of the vaccine, based on messenger RNA technology”, which injects strands of genetic instructions into the body that tell our cells what to do, is “appropriate for developing new versions of the vaccine if required”.
The vaccines from BioNTech / Pfizer and the American laboratory Moderna, which received approval in several countries around the world, allow, thanks to the messenger RNA, a faster adaptation. The German laboratory BioNTech assured that it could produce a new vaccine to deal with variations within a period of six weeks.
With information from AFP.