New Delhi (NVI): The coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech was able to neutralize a new variant that is rapidly circulating in Brazil, according to a laboratory study.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that blood taken from people who had been given the vaccine neutralized an engineered version of the virus that contained the same mutations carried on the spike portion of the highly contagious P.1 variant first identified in Brazil.
Scientists from the two companies and the University of Texas Medical Branch said the neutralizing ability was roughly equivalent to the vaccine’s effect on a previous less contagious version of the virus from last year.
The new variants are observed to carry changes in the spike, which is used by the virus to enter the human cells.
These changes, in turn, affect how transmissible the virus is and therefore, is the primary target of the many coronavirus vaccines.
In previously published studies, Pfizer had found that its vaccine neutralized other more contagious variants first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa, although the South African variant may reduce protective antibodies elicited by the vaccine.
Meanwhile, the Covid-19 vaccine developed b China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd has also shown promise against the P1 variant. The preliminary data from a study in Brazil indicated that Coronavac, as the Sinovac shot is known, was effective against the P1 variant of the virus.