A little good news on the ol’ “killer plague that’s somehow still getting worse” front as the Biden era begins. Pfizer published a study two weeks ago indicating that their vaccine should work against the highly contagious UK variant of the virus, but that study came with a catch. It looked only at how the vaccine did against a single important mutation on the spike protein in the UK version of the virus. To have more confidence that the vaccine would be effective against that strain, they had to test it against the *multiple* mutations found on the UK variant.
They’ve done that now. Result: Success. If we can get shots into arms quickly enough, we can outrace even the souped-up British permutation of the virus.
The characteristics of the variant had led to concerns about the effectiveness of Covid vaccines against it. However, research published on preprint server bioRxiv showed “no biologically significant difference in neutralization activity” between the laboratory tests on B.1.1.7 and the original strain of the coronavirus.
The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, found that all of the mutations associated with the newly discovered variant were neutralized by antibodies in the blood of 16 participants who had previously been given the vaccine…
Moderna and AstraZeneca, which has developed a Covid vaccine in partnership with the University of Oxford, have said they expect their vaccines to be effective against B.1.1.7.