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COVID-19: Pfizer, Moderna vaccines effective against variants found in India

The WHO has classified the coronavirus variant first found in India as a "variant of global concern". It said studies show the B.1.617 mutation spreads more easily than other variants and requires further study, reports suggest.

COVID-19: Pfizer, Moderna vaccines effective against variants found in India
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According to the latest researchers’ report, the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines provide protection against COVID-19 variants B.1.617 and B.1.618 that were first identified in India.

According to the pre-print paper posted to the online server biorxiv.org on Sunday, May 16, the B.1.617 and B.1.618 variants seem to be partially resistant to the antibodies elicited by vaccination. This result was based on lab experiments involving cell cultures.

Thus, there is a good reason to believe that vaccinated individuals will remain protected against the B.1.617 and B.1.618 variants, the researchers from New York University wrote in their pre-print paper, which has not yet been peer-reviewed.

However, more research is needed to determine just how effective the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are against those variants in the real world.

The new research involved serum samples collected from nine people who recovered from coronavirus, six people fully vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and three people fully vaccinated with Moderna's vaccine.

The researchers analyzed in lab experiments how the serum samples neutralized lentiviruses -- a type of retrovirus -- equipped with the same mutations as the B.1.617 and B.1.618 coronavirus variants.

Moreover, they also examined how Regeneron's monoclonal antibody cocktail therapy, called REGN-COV2, worked against the lentiviruses with B.1.617 and B.1.618 mutations -- and both appeared to be "partially resistant" to the therapy.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the coronavirus variant first found in India as a "variant of global concern". It said studies show the B.1.617 mutation spreads more easily than other variants and requires further study, reports suggested.

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