In a major research it is found that the coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa can “break-through” Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to some extent, the research report released on Saturday
This variant B.1.351 can managed to infiltrate the protection offered by two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to some degree, though it remains unclear just how much efficacy is lost.
The research had compared nearly 400 people who tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks or more after they received one or two doses of the vaccine, against the same number of unvaccinated patients with the disease.It matched age and gender, among other characteristics. It was found to make up about 1 percent of all the COVID-19 cases across all the people studied, according to the study by Tel Aviv University and Israel’s largest healthcare provider, Clalit.
The patients who had received two doses of the vaccine, the variant’s occurrence rate was eight times higher than those unvaccinated – 5.4 percent versus 0.7 percent.This suggests the vaccine is less effective against the South African variant, compared with the original coronavirus.
However, the researchers cautioned that the study only had a small sample size of people infected with the South African variant because of its rarity in Israel.
They also said the research was not intended to assume overall vaccine effectiveness against any variant, since it only looked at people who had already tested positive for COVID-19, not at overall infection rates.
The companies said on April 1 that their vaccine was about 91 percent effective at preventing COVID-19, citing updated trial data that included participants inoculated for up to six months.With respect to the South African variant, they said among a group of 800 study volunteers in South Africa, where B.1.351 is widespread, there were nine cases of COVID-19, all of which occurred among participants who got the placebo.
The South African variant does break through the vaccine’s protection, it has not spread widely through the population and the British variant may be “blocking” the spread of the South African strain.
Not only this, some previous studies have also indicated that the Pfizer-BioNTech shot was less effective against the B.1.351 variant than against others of the coronavirus.