- Pfizer less effective vs. Indian strain
- New variant in Vietnam
The Pfizer vaccine is slightly less effective but appears to still protect against the more transmissible Indian strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a study by France’s Pasteur Institute.
“Despite slightly diminished efficacy, the Pfizer vaccine probably protects” against the Indian variant, according to laboratory test results, said Olivier Schwartz, the institute’s director and co-author of the study that was published on the BioRxiv website ahead of peer review.
The study sampled 28 healthcare workers in the city of Orleans. Sixteen of them had received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, while 12 had received one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
People who had received two doses of Pfizer saw a three-fold reduction in their antibodies against the Indian variant, B.1.617, according to the study, but were still protected.
The variant first detected in India appears to be much more transmissible than earlier variations.
It has now been officially recorded in 53 territories, according to a World Health Organization report.
To try to curb its spread, France and Germany have re-introduced tighter rules on arrivals from affected countries, including the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, Vietnam has discovered a new COVID-19 variant which spreads quickly by air and is a combination of the Indian and British strains, state media reported Saturday.
“We have discovered a new hybrid variant from the Indian and the UK strains,” Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long was quoted telling a national meeting on the pandemic Saturday.
“The characteristic of this strain is that it spreads quickly in the air. The concentration of virus in the throat fluid increases rapidly and spreads very strongly to the surrounding environment.”