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Pfizer Says South African Variant Could Significantly Reduce Vaccine Protection: Reuters

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Vandana Singh
·2 min read
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  • A laboratory study suggests that a COVID-19 mutant strain prevalent in South Africa may lower antibody protection from the Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) / BioNTech SE's (NASDAQ: BNTX) vaccine and it is not clear if the shot will be effective against the mutation, reports Reuters. Though the lab study found the vaccine was still able to neutralize the virus.

  • A two-thirds reduction in the level of neutralizing antibodies was observed, compared with vaccine effect on the most common version of the virus prevalent in U.S. trials.

  • According to an earlier preliminary study, PFE/BNTX jab was found to protect against the strains.

  • The companies said that they are still making investments and talking to regulators about developing an updated version of their mRNA vaccine or a booster shot if needed.

  • With no established benchmark yet to determine the level of antibodies needed to protect against the virus, it is unclear whether that two-thirds reduction will render the vaccine ineffective against the variant.

  • However, University of Texas Medical Branch professor and study co-author Pei-Yong Shi said he believes the Pfizer vaccine will likely be protective against the variant.

  • Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) also said its vaccine's actual efficacy against the South African variant is yet to be determined. The company has previously reported that the vaccine was found to be effective against emerging strains.

  • Also, AstraZeneca Plc (NASDAQ: AZN) is working on a new version of its COVID-19 vaccine for immunity against the South African variant after a small early data suggested that its shot showed limited protection against the variant.

  • Price Action: BNTX slipped 2.3% at $110.9, PFE is down 0.34% at $34.78 in the premarket trading on the last check Thursday.

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