The COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech is likely to protect against the more infectious variant of the virus discovered in Britain and now spreading around the world, according to laboratory tests.
Researchers took blood samples from 16 people who had received the vaccine and exposed the blood to a synthetic virus, or pseudovirus, that was engineered to have 10 mutations found in the UK variant.
The antibodies that had developed in response to the vaccine effectively neutralized the pseudovirus, according to a report posted on Tuesday on bioRxiv ahead of peer review.
“This makes it very unlikely that the UK variant will escape from the protection provided by the vaccine,” said Jonathan Stoye, a virus scientist at Britain’s Francis Crick Institute who was not involved in the research.
Similar experiments are needed with the more concerning variant first found in South Africa, he suggested. AstraZeneca, Moderna and CureVac are also testing whether their respective vaccines will protect against the fast-spreading variants.