Studies of South African Coronavirus Strain Raise Concerns About Immune Response
Three new studies have raised concerns over the immune response triggered by the new strain of Covid-19 originating in South Africa. The studies found that the vaccine may be less effective at protecting against the new and more transmissible strain. The findings are a result of experiments done in laboratory environments, focusing specifically on certain elements of the human immune response.
Despite the lack of concrete evidence, the findings reinforce the possibility that the vaccine will need to be updated as the virus evolves. In a fourth study, BioNTech and Pfizer scientists found that their vaccine successfully neutralized the variant. Although the mutated strain was initially detected in the UK, it has since spread to many other countries. The fourth study conducted by BioNTech and Pfizer did not include the South African strain.