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Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can defeat the COVID-19 variant found in the UK

Pfizer-BioNTech released details of a new study that said the vaccine can defeat the virus

A nurse prepares a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, as the U.K. health authorities rolled out a national mass vaccination program.
A nurse prepares a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, as the U.K. health authorities rolled out a national mass vaccination program.
Frank Augstein, Associated Press

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is likely to be effective against the new mutation of the novel coronavirus recently found in the United Kingdom, the companies said in a new study.

What’s happening?

Pfizer-BioNTech released the results of a new study that examined whether or not the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the two companies could defeat the new, highly-transmissible variant of the coronavirus found in the U.K.

  • The research — published on bioRxiv — showed “no biologically significant difference in neutralization activity,” meaning that the variant did not change enough characteristics to evade the vaccine.
  • The study — which hasn’t been peer-reviewed — found all mutations linked to the new variant were stopped by antibodies in the blood of 16 patients who had been given the vaccine.
  • According to the study, the spread of COVID-19 variants means there needs to be “continuous monitoring of the significance of changes for maintained protection by currently authorized vaccines.”

Be careful after a first dose

University of Utah Health Division of Infectious Diseases associate professor Dr. Emily Spivak told the Deseret News Tuesday that the first dose isn’t a free pass to do whatever you want. The second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine matters, too.

  • “The whole point of the second dose is to boost the sort of the amount of antibody and the amount of immunity that you have and hopefully the length. We just don’t even know how long the protection is after two doses,” Spivak said.