Pfizer vaccine not strong enough to resist South African Covid variant: study

Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid vaccine is not strong enough to resist the Covid mutation that was first discovered in South Africa.

According to a new study published, the South African variant appears to be fairly effective in bypassing the vaccine, more so than the original Covid-19 strain, as well as the British variant, known as the Kent mutation.

Read more: Covid: New Indian mutation found in UK raises immunity concerns

Vaccinated eight times higher

Researchers at Tel Aviv University looked at 400 people who tested positive for Covid-19, despite having been vaccinated more than two weeks earlier. 

The South African variant, known as B.1.351, made about 1 per cent of all the Covid-19 cases across all cases.

However, among patients who did receive two doses of the vaccine, the variant’s prevalence rate was eight times higher than those unvaccinated, namely 5.4 per cent versus 0.7 per cent.

Read more: No vaccine? Yes, employers can bar you from the office

This indicates that the Pfizer vaccine is much less effective against the South African mutation as compared to the original coronavirus strain and a variant first identified in Kent, the researchers explained.

“We found a disproportionately higher rate of the South African variant among people vaccinated with a second dose, compared to the unvaccinated group. This means that the South African variant is able, to some extent, to break through the vaccine’s protection,” confirmed Adi Stern, of Tel Aviv University.

Read more: Blood clot risk from Covid infection ‘eight times higher’ than from Astrazeneca vaccine

Pfizer and BioNTech could not be reached on Sunday morning.

However, on 1 April the companies did stress that their jab is around 91 per cent effective at preventing Covid-19.

Pfizer’s B.1.351 study

With regards to the B.1.351, Pfizer said that out of a group of 800 volunteers in South Africa, it found nine infections, all of which occurred among participants who got the placebo. Of those nine cases, six were among individuals infected with the South African variant.

While the results of the study may cause concern, the low prevalence of the South African strain was encouraging, according to Stern.

“Even if the South African variant does break through the vaccine’s protection, it has not spread widely through the population,” he stressed.

Almost 53 per cent of Israel’s 9.3 million population has received both Pfizer doses, while Israel largely reopened its economy since mid-March.

Continue reading “Pfizer vaccine not strong enough to resist South African Covid variant: study”

Sixty healthy adults in Belgium and US first in the world to take new Pfizer Covid pill

Saturday 1 May 2021 7:15 pm

The human trial consists of three phases, with more than 200 Pfizer researchers working full-time on the project.

Pharmaceutcial giant Pfizer has kicked off a human trial for a Covid-19 pill that the company hopes to make available before the end of the year.

The trial, which is held at Pfizer labs in Belgium and the US, includes 60 clean-living adults aged 18-60 and will last for 145 days, according to various media reports. The final 28 days will reportedly used to get screening and dosing right.

The human trial consists of three phases, with more than 200 Pfizer researchers working full-time on the project.

During the first round, volunteers will be tested and monitored on how well the drug is tolerated, while the next phase will consist of adults taking multiple doses and the final phase evolves around the tolerance of the pill in combination with food intake. The final 28 days will reportedly used to get screening and dosing right.

According to Pfizer documents seen by various news outlets, volunteers did receive a warning that the drugs has so far only been tested on a limited number of animals.

“The safety of the study drug has been studied in animals. In these animal studies, no significant risks or safety events of concern were identified, and the study drug did not cause side-effects at any of the dose levels that will be used in clinical studies,” The Telegraph reported, citing Pfizer instructions.

HIV medication

The research is reportedly centred around a man-made anti-viral moleculecalled PF 0732133 – which is a protease inhibitor, preventing the virus from reproducing in the nose, throat and lungs.

Protease inhibitors are a key element in the treatment of HIV patients, although the medication often does display long term side effects.

The ties to HIV will also be examined in the trials, with participants given doses of ritonavir, an antiviral drug used in the treatment of HIV that will help increase the amount of PF-07321332 in the participants’ blood.

The anti-viral pill was reportedly developed from scratch since the pandemic kicked off, according to Pfizer’s director of medicinal chemistry, David Owen.

He reportedly told a private event of the Division of Medicinal Chemistry last month that the first seven milligrams of the drug – the volume of a raindrop – were produced in July of last year while by late October, Pfizer had managed to create 100 grams of the drug, followed by a kilogram in November.

— Read on