The BioNTech/Pfizer coronavirus vaccine should grant protection against both the South African and British variants, according to an article published in Nature Medicine Monday.
The researchers tested the blood sera of participants who had been given the vaccine against virus samples that were genetically modified to resemble the variants, finding that the antibodies responded to these viruses.
However, one limitation of the peer-reviewed study is “that the engineered viruses do not include the full set of spike mutations found in the [U.K.] or [South African] variants,” the researchers said.
The journal article — which is based on a pre-print published on January 27 — noted that the neutralization of the virus containing mutations found in South African variant was “slightly lower” when compared to the one that imitated the U.K. variant. But the differences were small.
There’s been less promising news on this front for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. In South Africa, a study suggesting the jab isn’t effective in preventing mild to moderate illness caused by the variant originating there has prompted the government to halt plans to roll out the vaccine for front line health workers.