Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Is Effective Against U.K. Variant, Early Study Shows
The Covid-19 vaccine marketed by BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc. is effective against the new, more infectious coronavirus strain that was first identified in Britain, a laboratory study showed. The study hasn’t yet been reviewed by independent experts.
The in vitro study—conducted with samples taken from people aged 18 to 85 who had been vaccinated—was published by the companies on Wednesday. The companies said the study had also been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal.
The new variant, known as B.1.1.7, is rapidly spreading world-wide and is believed by some experts to be over 50% more infectious than the more common variants of the virus.
Ten mutations were detected in the virus’s so-called spike protein that enables the pathogen to enter human cells. Those mutations are thought to make it easier for the virus to penetrate the body, leading to higher infection rates in some parts of the U.K.
“Pfizer and BioNTech are encouraged by these early in vitro study findings,” the companies said Wednesday. “Further data are needed to monitor the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing Covid-19 caused by new virus variants.”