Connect with us

Coronavirus Vaccine

Pfizer Vaccine Can Neutralise UK, South Africa Virus Variants: Study

The research, published in the journal Nature Medicine, noted that the vaccine is effective against coronavirus variants carrying the N501Y and E484K mutations

Pfizer Vaccine Can Neutralise UK, South Africa Virus Variants: Study
Highlights
  • The vaccine is co-developed by US-based Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech
  • Pfizer Vaccine is effective against variants with N501Y and E484K mutations
  • The research is published in the journal Nature Medicine

New Delhi: The COVID-19 vaccine co-developed by the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and the German biotechnology company BioNTech can neutralise variants of the novel coronavirus that were first reported in the UK and South Africa, a new study suggests.
The research, published in the journal Nature Medicine, noted that the vaccine is effective against coronavirus variants carrying the N501Y and E484K mutations.

According to the scientists, including those from the University of Texas in the US, these variants have a substitution of the amino acid building blocks that make up the viral spike protein — the part of the virus which enables it to enter human cells.

They said these mutations in the 501st and 484th positions of the protein’s amino acid molecule chain appeared in the UK and the South African variants, and could potentially increase the affinity of the viral spike for the receptor on the human cell through which the virus enters cells.

Also Read: Coronavirus Vaccine Glossary: 15 Terms To Know About Vaccination

In particular, they said the N501Y mutation may also expand the range of hosts the virus can infect to include mice.

In the current study, the scientists, Pei-Yong Shi and his colleagues engineered combinations of mutations found in these circulating variants and tested a panel of human sera from 20 participants.

They said the sera were obtained from their clinical trial of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine obtained two or four weeks after immunisation with two doses spaced three weeks apart.

When they tested the serum against the coronavirus strains, the authors found evidence of neutralisation of the mutant viruses by the sera panel, with slight variation.

According to the scientists, neutralisation against the E484K mutation was slightly lower than that against the N501Y mutation.

Commenting on the research, virologist Lawrence Young from the University of Warwick in the UK, said the findings confirm previous studies indicating that the Pfizer vaccine is very likely to be effective against the UK variant.

It shows that the mutations found in the South African variant reduced the efficiency of virus neutralisation by 50 per cent but only in six out of the 20 sera examined, said Dr Young, who was not related to the study.

Jonathan Ball, Professor of Molecular Virology, the University of Nottingham in the UK, also noted that the findings are promising.

This is important work and provides reassurance that the antibody response generated by the Pfizer vaccine is able to neutralise coronavirus genetically engineered to carry some of the mutations seen in the variants of concern first identified in the UK and South Africa, Mr Ball, who was also unrelated to the study, said in a statement.

Also Read: Coronavirus Vaccine Explainer: How Effective Is Novavax Vaccine? When Will It Be Launched In India?

However, we suspect that the effects of these mutations can be influenced by mutations occurring in other parts of the spike protein, so it will be important to validate these promising findings using viruses engineered to carry all of the mutations found in each variant, he added.

Due to the ongoing evolution of the coronavirus, the study authors called for continuous monitoring of vaccine efficacy for emerging variants.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

Highlights From The 12-Hour Telethon

Leaving No One Behind

Mental Health

Environment

Join Us