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The COVID-19 vaccine is effective against the California coronavirus variant

New research suggests COVID-19 vaccines can defeat the California coronavirus variants

SHARE The COVID-19 vaccine is effective against the California coronavirus variant
Beachgoers enjoy the warm weather next to a packed parking lot in Santa Monica, Calif., Wednesday, April 7, 2021. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that the state would lift almost all COVID-19 restrictions in June.

Beachgoers enjoy the warm weather next to a packed parking lot in Santa Monica, Calif., Wednesday, April 7, 2021. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that the state would lift almost all COVID-19 restrictions in June.

Associated Press

A new study suggests that several COVID-19 vaccines remain effective against the California coronavirus variant.

COVID-19 vaccine and the California variant

The new study— published in the New England Journal of Medicine — found that the variant was not a problem against the COVID-19 vaccines.

  • “We’re not expecting this variant to be a problem for the vaccines — so that’s really good news,” David Montefiori, a virologist at Duke University and leader of the study, told The Los Angeles Times.

Details of the California variant

Researchers have been worried about whether or not vaccines can combat common variants to the novel coronavirus, including the California variant, which has been spreading fast in the state since January, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

California saw a huge surge of cases in the fall and winter. Southern California became something of an epicenter of the pandemic for a short time, which experts later suggested might have been caused by the variants, as I explained for the Deseret News.

California variant vs. COVID-19 vaccines

Scientists tested blood samples for those who received the COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna — and a vaccine from Novavax that hasn’t been authorized in the U.S., according to The Los Angeles Times. They then used an engineered version of the viral variant to see what the immune system would do.

  • The Los Angeles Times explained: “The California variant they tested, B.1.429, was a little less susceptible to both the Moderna and the Novavax vaccines, but both shots still generated effective protection, the researchers found. That’s because the body generates far higher antibody levels than are actually needed to neutralize the virus.”

Montefiori, the virologist, told The Los Angeles Times that the Pfizer vaccine wasn’t tested. But it uses the same technology as the Moderna vaccine so the findings would likely be the similar.

  • “People in Los Angeles can feel very good about getting the current vaccines — that they’re going to be just as protected by those vaccines as people living in areas where they don’t have the California variant,” Montefiori said. “It’s always nice to get that type of a result.”