A variant of the coronavirus found in the Republic of South Africa may to some extent “break through” the COVID-19 vaccine jointly produced by the American Pfizer and the German BioNTech. This is evidenced by a study by Israeli scientists, according to Reuters.
Experts from Tel Aviv University compared 400 people who tested positive for COVID-19, vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, with the same number of unvaccinated patients with the disease. According to the study, the South African type of coronavirus B. 1.351 accounts for about one percent of all cases among the people studied.
However, among patients who received two doses of the vaccine, the prevalence rate of the South African type of coronavirus was eight times higher than in unvaccinated patients — 5.4 percent versus 0.7 percent. This suggests that the vaccine is less effective against the South African variant of the virus, the researchers noted.
“We found a disproportionately high prevalence of the South African variant among people vaccinated with the second dose, compared to the unvaccinated group. This means that this strain is able to break through the protection of the vaccine to some extent, ” said Adi Stern from Tel Aviv University.
Experts warned that the study has not yet been peer-reviewed, in addition, it involved a small sample of people infected with the South African variant, due to its rarity in Israel. It is also noted that the purpose of the study was not to find out the overall effectiveness of the US-German vaccine.