Pfizer vaccine effective against UK, South Africa COVID-19 strains, study suggests

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The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech appears to be effective against virus strains discovered in the U.K. and South Africa, according to research published Jan. 7 on the preprint server bioRxiv. 

The vaccine neutralized a mutation found in the more infectious variants, according to the research, which has not been peer-reviewed. Pfizer and researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston conducted the research, testing blood taken from people who had been given the Pfizer vaccine, CNBC reported. 

The research, while promising, is limited because it doesn't include the full set of mutations found in either the U.K. or South Africa variant. Pfizer and BioNTech told CNBC they have tested their vaccine against multiple mutant strains, and it is effective in all those tested. 

The research is also limited because it focuses on just a single mutation within the new variants.

"So, while it’s reassuring that one mutation within these variants is not associated with escape from vaccines, at least in the laboratory, we urgently need data on these mutations, and preferably on the variant virus with a combination of mutations, as these may act differently in combination," Deepti Gurdasani, MD, PhD, a clinical epidemiologist at Queen Mary University of London in the U.K. told CNBC

Read the full article here.

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