The COVID-19 vaccine developed jointly by the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the German biotechnology company BioNTech can neutralize variants of the novel coronavirus, which was first reported in Great Britain and South Africa. This is the result of a new study.
The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, found the vaccine to be effective against coronavirus variants that carry the N501Y and E484K mutations.
According to scientists, including those from the University of Texas in the United States, these variants replace the building blocks of amino acids that make up the viral spike protein – the part of the virus that allows it to enter human cells.
They said these mutations occurred at positions 501st and 484th on the protein’s amino acid molecular chain in the UK and South African variants and could potentially increase the affinity of the virus tip for the receptor on the human cell through which the virus enters the cells.
Specifically, they said the N501Y mutation could also extend the range of hosts that the virus can infect to mice.
In the current study, scientists Pei-Yong Shi and his colleagues developed combinations of mutations found in these circulating variants and tested a group of human sera of 20 participants.
They said the sera from their clinical trial were obtained with the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine, which was obtained two or four weeks after immunization with two doses three weeks apart.
When they tested the serum against the coronavirus strains, the authors found indications of neutralization of the mutated viruses by the sera panel with minor deviations.
According to the scientists, the neutralization against the E484K mutation was slightly lower than against the N501Y mutation.
Commenting on the study, virologist Lawrence Young of the University of Warwick in the UK said the results confirmed previous studies suggesting 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 neutralization by 50 percent, but only in six of the 20 sera examined,” said Young, who was not related to the study.
Jonathan Ball, Professor of Molecular Virology at the University of Nottingham in the UK, also noted that the results are promising.
“This is important work and provides reassurance that the antibody response generated by the Pfizer vaccine can neutralize the genetically engineered coronavirus that carries some of the mutations found in the worrying variants first identified in the UK and South Africa,” Ball also said not related to the study, said in a statement.
‘However, we suspect that the effects of these mutations can be influenced by mutations in other parts of the spike protein, so it is important to validate these promising results with viruses designed to carry all the mutations found in each variant . ” he added.
Due to the ongoing development of the coronavirus, the study’s authors called for continuous monitoring of the vaccine’s effectiveness for newly emerging variants.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)