Wednesday , May 31 2023

The Pfizer study suggests that the vaccine works against the virus variant


New research suggests that the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine may protect against a mutation found in two highly contagious variants of the coronavirus that erupted in the UK and South Africa.

These variants cause global concern. They both share a common mutation called N501Y, a slight one-off change in the spike protein that covers the virus. It is believed that this change is why they can spread so easily.

Most vaccines around the world train the body to recognize that spike protein and fight it. Pfizer teamed up with researchers at the University of Texas at Galveston’s medical branch for laboratory tests to see if the mutation affected his vaccine’s ability to do so.

They used blood samples from 20 people who received the vaccine, made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, during an extensive photo study. According to the study, antibodies from those vaccine recipients successfully defended the virus in laboratory vessels posted late Thursday on an online site for researchers.

The study is preliminary and has not yet been reviewed by experts, a key step for medical research.

But “it was a very reassuring finding that at least this mutation, which was one of the most worrying people, does not seem to be a problem” for the vaccine, said Dr. Philip Dormitzer, Pfizer’s chief scientific officer.

Viruses constantly undergo minor changes as they spread from person to person. Scientists have used these slight changes to track how the coronavirus has traveled around the globe since it was first detected in China about a year ago.

British scientists said that the variant found in Britain – which has become the dominant type in parts of England – still seemed susceptible to vaccines. This mutant has now been found in the United States and many other countries.

But the variant first discovered in South Africa has an additional mutation that has scientists on the sidelines, one called E484K.

The Pfizer study found that the vaccine appears to work against 15 possible additional mutations in the virus, but E484K was not among those tested. Dormitzer said he’s on the list.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the largest U.S. infectious disease expert, recently said that vaccines are designed to recognize multiple parts of the spike protein, making a single mutation unlikely to be enough to block them. But scientists around the world are conducting research with different vaccines to find out.

Dormitzer said that eventually the virus mutates enough for the vaccine to be adjusted – just as flu vaccines are adjusted for most years – that changing the prescription would not be difficult for his company’s vaccines and the like. The vaccine is made with part of the virus’s genetic code, which is easy to change, although it is not clear what kind of additional testing regulators would be needed to make such a change.

Dormitzer said this was just the beginning of “continuous monitoring of viral changes to see if any of them could have an impact on vaccine coverage.”


The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. AP is solely responsible for all content.

Source link