Advertisement

Pfizer vaccine shows promise against Brazil variant in lab study

Click to play video: 'Brazil in worst phase of pandemic, health-care system in crisis' Brazil in worst phase of pandemic, health-care system in crisis
WATCH: Brazil in worst phase of pandemic, health-care system in crisis – Mar 5, 2021

The COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE was able to neutralize a new variant of the coronavirus spreading rapidly in Brazil, according to a laboratory study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Monday.

Blood taken from people who had been given the vaccine neutralized an engineered version of the virus that contained the same mutations carried on the spike portion of the highly contagious P.1 variant first identified in Brazil, the study conducted by scientists from the companies and the University of Texas Medical Branch found.

Read more: Oxford study finds AstraZeneca vaccine effective against Brazil variant: source

The scientists said the neutralizing ability was roughly equivalent the vaccine’s effect on a previous less contagious version of the virus from last year.

The spike, used by the virus to enter human cells, is the primary target of many COVID-19 vaccines.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: First case of Brazil COVID-19 variant identified in Toronto' Coronavirus: First case of Brazil COVID-19 variant identified in Toronto
Coronavirus: First case of Brazil COVID-19 variant identified in Toronto – Feb 7, 2021

In previously published studies, Pfizer had found that its vaccine neutralized other more contagious variants first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa, although the South African variant may reduce protective antibodies elicited by the vaccine.

Read more: ‘Concerning’ Brazil COVID-19 variant found in Canada. What you need to know

Pfizer has said it believes its current vaccine is highly likely to still protect against the South African variant. However, the drugmaker is planning to test a third booster dose of their vaccine as well as a version retooled specifically to combat the variant in order to better understand the immune response.

Sponsored content