The Covid-19 vaccine co-developed by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech could neutralize variants of the novel coronavirus first reported in the UK and South Africa, a new study suggests.
The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, found that the vaccine is effective against coronavirus variants carrying the N501Y and E484K mutations.
According to scientists, including those from the University of Texas at the US, these variants have a substitution of the amino acid building blocks that make up the viral spike protein – the part of the virus that makes it possible for human cells to enter.
They said that these mutations in the 501st and 484th positions of the amino acid molecular chain of the egg white appeared in the United Kingdom and the South African variants, and the affinity of the viral peak for the receptor on the human cell causing it to virus could possibly increase the cells entering,
In particular, they said that the N501Y mutation could also expand the range of hosts that could infect the virus to infect mice.
In the present study, the scientists, Pei-Yong Shi and his colleagues, designed combinations of mutations found in these circulating variants and tested a panel of human sera of 20 participants.
They said the sera were obtained from their clinical trial of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine that was given two or four weeks after immunization with two doses that were three weeks apart.
When testing the serum against the coronavirus strains, the authors found evidence for neutralization of the mutant viruses by the sera panel, with slight variation.
According to the scientists, neutralization against the E484K mutation was slightly lower than that against the N501Y mutation.
Commenting on the study, virologist Lawrence Young from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom said the findings confirm previous studies to indicate that the Pfizer vaccine is very likely to be effective against the British variant.
“It shows that the mutations found in the South African variant reduced the efficiency of virus neutralization by 50 percent, but only in six of the 20 sera studied,” said Young, who was not related to the study.
Jonathan Ball, Professor of Molecular Virology, University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, also noted that the findings are promising.
“This is important work and ensures that the anti-inflammatory response generated by the Pfizer vaccine can genetically engineer coronavirus to carry some of the mutations in the variants of care first identified in the UK and South Africa, “Ball, who was also unrelated to the study, said in a statement.
“However, we suspect that the effects of these mutations may be influenced by mutations that occur in other parts of the spike protein, so it will be important to validate these potential findings with viruses designed to kill all mutations that ” have been found to be worn in every variant, ” he added.
Due to the continuous evolution of the coronavirus, the authors of the study continuously called for control over the effectiveness of vaccines for emerging variants.