world
Saturday May 29 2021
By
AFP

Pfizer coronavirus vaccine less effective against Indian strain but still offers protection

By
AFP
 
A vial and sryinge are seen in front of a displayed Pfizer logo in this illustration taken January 11, 2021. Photo: Reuters

  • Study samples 28 healthcare workers in the city of Orleans. 
  • Sixteen of them had received 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.


PARIS: A study by France's Pasteur Institute showed that the Pfizer vaccine is slightly less effective but it does offer protection against the Indian variant of the coronavirus.

"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.

Read more: EU backs Pfizer jab for 12 to 15-year- olds

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 situation was different with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which induced particularly low levels of antibodies neutralising" the Indian variant, the study said.

Patients who had had COVID-19 within the past year and people vaccinated with two doses of Pfizer retained enough antibodies to be protected against the Indian variant, but three to six times less antibodies than against the UK variant, Schwartz said.

The study shows that "this variant.. has acquired partial resistance to antibodies," Schwartz said.

Read more: Pfizer sees Covid-19 as 'durable' revenue stream as profits rise

Since first emerging in late 2019 in China, the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 has developed several variants, usually named for the places where it first appeared including the so-called South Africa and UK strains.

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 Organisation report.

To try to curb its spread, France and Germany have re-introduced tighter rules on arrivals from affected countries, including the United Kingdom.