Pfizer vaccine will protect patients against new UK Covid strain, study finds

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The Pfizer vaccine is likely to protect against a new strain of the coronavirus that emerged in the UK, a study has found.

Those who received the shot produced antibodies that were able to neutralise different versions of the mutant virus.

The research team, led by BioTech CEO Ugur Sahin, wrote it was “very unlikely that the UK variant viruses will escape” protection from the vaccine.

Sixteen patients received the vaccine in previous trials, half of whom were over 55 years old.

The variant, known as B.1.1.7, was first identified in Kent just before Christmas, and has a high number of mutations.

However, scientists at BioTech’s headquarters in Mainz, Germany, were able to analyse all of them in the latest study.

Pfizer and BioTech said there was “no biologically significant difference in neutralisation activity” regarding the new strain of the coronavirus and the original version identified in China.

The study has not yet been peer-reviewed.

Meanwhile, other research suggests the vaccine could stop people from transmitting the coronavirus and slash infection rates.

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At the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Israel, patients who got second doses of the Pfizer jab produced 6-20 times more antibodies designed to combat the virus.

Of 102 medical staff surveyed, just two developed low amounts of antibodies and one suffered a compromised immune system.

Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay, director of Sheba’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit, told Ynet: “The results of the survey are in line with Pfizer’s experiment and even better than expected.

“I expect that the survey results of the other employees participating will be similar. There is certainly reason for optimism.”

She believes that people who received both doses of the vaccine are unlikely to become carriers of the virus.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is hoping to vaccinate 15 million people in the UK by mid-February.

The UK is still grappling with rising death tolls – with 1,610 fatalities recorded on Tuesday, January 19.

It marked the country's deadliest day during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, infections have seemingly started to fall, with 33,355 recorded yesterday.

That was down from 38,598 cases on Sunday, January 17, and 37,535 on Monday, January 18.

  • Coronavirus

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