Pfizer, BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine likely to protect against South Africa strain

Pfizer Inc.
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and BioNTech SE
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said late Wednesday its COVID-19 vaccine provided protection against the South African variant of the novel coranovirus in a lab study. The study, conducted by Pfizer and the University of Texas Medical Branch and not done in humans, investigated the full set of South African variant spike mutations. The study was published on the New England Journal of Medicine. “There is no clinical evidence to date that the South African variant virus escapes” vaccine protection from COVID-19, the companies said. “Nevertheless, Pfizer and BioNTech are taking the necessary steps, making the right investments, and engaging in the appropriate conversations with regulators to be in a position to develop and seek authorization for an updated mRNA vaccine or booster once a strain that significantly reduces the protection from the vaccine is identified.” The companies currently are evaluating how the vaccine would work against the Brazilian mutations and others that are emerging, they said.

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