US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer says a study shows its COVID-19 vaccine works against new coronavirus variants found in Britain and South Africa.
Pfizer announced on Friday that a laboratory test suggested that the vaccine jointly developed with its German partner BioNTech appears to protect against the new variants.
In the test, scientists used artificially made viruses that had the same mutation in the so-called spike protein as the variants. The spike protein plays a crucial role when the virus infects human cells.
The scientists checked if these mutated viruses were neutralized in blood samples taken from recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. They found the vaccine appears as effective as it is against conventional strains.
Pfizer said the findings indicate that the mutation, which is found in the emerging UK and South Africa variants, does not develop resistance to its vaccine.
However, it noted that further study is needed to monitor the effectiveness of the vaccine against the mutated virus variants.