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COVID-19 variant from South Africa can ‘break through’ the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

A new study suggests that the COVID-19 variant found in South Africa can break through the Pfizer vaccine

A new study suggests that the COVID-19 variant found in South Africa can break through the Pfizer vaccine.
Doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are at the ready for a vaccination event at the Khadeeja Islamic Center and Mosque in West Valley City on Friday, March 26, 2021. A new study of Israel suggests that the COVID-19 variant discovered in South Africa can “break through” the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

A new study of Israel suggests that the COVID-19 variant discovered in South Africa can “break through” the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Will COVID-19 vaccines work against variants?

A new study out of Israel, which has not been peer-reviewed yet, suggests that the novel coronavirus variant originally discovered in South Africa can evade the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

  • The researchers — who come from Tel Aviv University and Clalit, which is the biggest health care organization in Israel — looked at health records for 400 people who tested positive for COVID-19 after getting at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Then, the researchers compared the records to 400 people who were infected but were not vaccinated.
  • The study’s findings revealed that the South Africa variant — also known as the B.1.351 variant — had hit patients who received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. And the variant’s prevalence was eight times higher among those who got two doses of the vaccine compared to the unvaccinated.

This suggests that South Africa variant has a better ability to break through the vaccine than the original coronavirus mutation, according to CNBC.

  • “Based on patterns in the general population, we would have expected just one case of the South African variant, but we saw eight,” the study’s lead author, professor Adi Stern, told The Times of Israel. “We can say it’s less effective, but more research is needed to establish exactly how much.”

Is the variant common?

Stern said that the South Africa strain of the novel coronavirus hasn’t spread too far, yet, which is a positive sign, according to the New York Post.

  • “Even if the South African variant does break through the vaccine’s protection, it has not spread widely through the population,” said Stern.
  • Stern suggested that the U.K. variant might be blocking the South Africa variant from spreading, according to the New York Post.