Israeli researchers report that the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is as effective against B.1.1.7 variant of the virus, aka the U.K. variant, as it is against the original SARS-CoV-2 strain. The vaccine was found to be moderately less effective against the B.1.351 (South African) variant and the combined British-South African variants of the coronavirus.
The study was published on March 20 in the journal Cell Host and Microbe.
“Our findings show that future variants could necessitate a modified vaccine as the virus mutates to increase its infectivity,” said principal investigator Ran Taube of the Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics in Ben-Gurion University’s Faculty of Health Sciences.
The researchers are continuing to test other circulating variants as they emerge, consisting of mutations that could possibly pose a challenge to the Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness. A recently detected Israeli variant is “of no clinical or epidemiological significance,” according to the Israeli Health Ministry.
Thus far, these studies support the Ben-Gurion research, showing that no currently circulating variants are significantly resistant to the Pfizer vaccine.
This article was first published by Israel21c.