Pfizer-BioNTech say vaccine 'effective' on new variants

Pfizer-BioNTech say vaccine 'effective' on new variants

Pfizer/BioNTech, which had previously said it was unlikely that the strain originally found in Britain could escape vaccine protection, said Thursday that early tests suggest their immunisation would be similarly protective against the variant in South Africa.

The Pfizer/ BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has proven effective against new strains of the virus recently discovered in South Africa and the UK.

"Pfizer and BioNTech believe that the flexibility of BioNTech's proprietary mRNA vaccine platform is well suited to develop new vaccine variants if required", they said.

While many are have started to receive their COVID vaccine, scientists are still working on innovations to combat mutations of the virus.

The vast majority of mutations are of little importance, but the World Health Organization has urged countries to actively work to spot mutations that might significantly alter either the virus's virulence or transmissibility.

Recent studies have found the United Kingdom variant to transmit at a rapid pace and be more severe in form.

The agency also said it is still learning how widely these virus mutations have spread, how they affect existing therapies, vaccines, and tests, and how the effects of the variants differ. The concern with this variant is it has a set of additional mutations that may affect if it can be recognized by antibodies.

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This has raised concerns the variant poses a heightened risk of reinfection, and also could hamper the effectiveness of the growing number of COVID-19 vaccines. "This is being closely investigated, and more studies are underway".

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that "So far, studies suggest that antibodies generated through vaccination with now authorized vaccines recognize these variants".

Daily global deaths from Covid-19 topped 18,000 for the first time Wednesday, with vaccines seen as the only real chance of returning to some form of normality.

While the number of deaths was similar to the previous week, the new case number marked a 15-percent decline week-on-week.

Nonetheless, the Americas and Europe accounted for a full 86 percent of all new cases recorded last week.

The European region saw the sharpest drop, with a 20-percent fall in new cases, followed by Africa at 16 percent and the Americas at 14 percent.

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