NEW YORK – The Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and Bioentech was found to be working against key mutations in highly transmissible new variants of coronavirus found in the U.S. and South Africa, U.S.
A peer-reviewed study so far by scientists from Pfizer and the University of Texas Medical School suggested that the vaccine was effective in neutralizing the virus with the so-called N501Y mutation of the spike protein.
The mutation may be largely responsible for transmissibility and there was concern that the vaccine could also inhibit antibody neutralization to prevent the virus, said Phil Dormitzer, one of Pfizer’s top viral vaccine scientists.
The vaccine was taken on the blood of people who had been vaccinated. His findings are limited, as he does not see the full set of mutations seen in any of the newer types of rapidly spreading viruses.
Dormitzer said it is encouraging that the vaccine appears to be effective against mutations, as well as the company has previously tested against 15 other mutations.
“So now we’ve tested 16 different mutations, and none of them have really had a significant effect. That’s good news, “he said. “That doesn’t mean the 17th won’t.”
Dormitzer noted that other changes seen in the South African type known as the E484K mutation are also related.
Researchers plan to run similar tests to see if the vaccine is effective against other mutations found in different types in the UK and South Africa.
Scientists have expressed concern that the vaccine being introduced may not protect against new variants, especially those that have emerged in South Africa.
Simon Clarke, an associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said this week that while some new features were common in both types, one found in South Africa had “many additional mutations” including a more extensive change in the spike. Protein.
One of the Pfizer / Bioentech vaccines and Moderna Inc., uses synthetic messenger RNA technology, which can be quickly tweaked to eliminate new mutations in the virus if necessary. Scientists have suggested that the change could take place in less than six weeks.