Moscow/Sputnik: The efficacy of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine (official name BNT162b2) might sustain against the newly-detected mutant strains from the United Kingdom and South Africa, a group of US scientists said in a research paper.
The paper was published on the BioRxiv website for biology research on Thursday.
The research was conducted by scientists from University of Texas Medical Branch and funded by Pfizer and BioNTech, as stated in the Acknowledgments section.
"Rapidly spreading variants of SARS-CoV-2 that have arisen in the United Kingdom and South Africa share the spike N501Y substitution ... We generated isogenic N501 and Y501 SARS-CoV-2. Sera of 20 participants in a previously reported trial of the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b2 had equivalent neutralizing titers to the N501 and Y501 viruses," the paper's abstract read.
The website's headline warns, however, that the report is preliminary and has not yet been peer-reviewed, and, therefore, should not be regarded as a conclusive guidance to health care practices.
Announcing the discovery of the mutant virus in December, UK health authorities said it had been established up to 70 percent more contagious than the original strain. They did not provide any information whether the new strain (501) was more deadly or harder on symptoms. Another mutant strain, labeled 501.V2, was detected in South Africa approximately the same time.
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