Pfizer vaccine offers '100% protection against South African variant'

Registered Nurse Delia Murphy dispenses a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at the Gillette Stadium vaccination site

The emergence of new variants of the novel coronavirus, especially one dubbed B.1.351 that was first identified in South Africa, raised concerns over the efficacy of existing vaccines.

Pfizer's vaccine is already authorized for use in people starting at age 16.

Results also are expected soon from a study of Moderna's vaccine in 12- to 17-year-olds. "The high vaccine efficacy observed through up to six months following a second dose and against the variant prevalent in South Africa provides further confidence in our vaccine's overall effectiveness".

"These data also provide the first clinical results that a vaccine can effectively protect against now circulating variants, a critical factor to reach herd immunity and end this pandemic for the global population", Sahin said in a statement Thursday.

USA top infectious diseases doctor Anthony Fauci told Reuters on Thursday that the country may not need AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine even if it wins United States regulatory approval. It more than likely will be even longer.

Fully vaccinated Americans cleared to travel without tests or quarantine periods — CDC
The agency's guidance, released in March , says people who have been fully vaccinated can meet indoors without masks. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last required dose of vaccine.

Pfizer's Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said the updated result, which includes data on more than 12,000 people fully inoculated for at least six months, positions the drugmakers to submit for full US regulatory approval. They said there were nine cases of COVID-19, all of which were observed in the placebo group.

In the first in-human evidence of how the vaccine protects against variants, research published by Pfizer/BioNTech on Thursday showed the vaccine is 100% effective in preventing Covid-19 cases in South Africa - where the South African variant is now common. The trial is enrolling 210 participants in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Nashville and Seattle, including 60 people who previously received the current Moderna vaccine.

The efficacy level is slightly down from the 95% number the vaccine first posted in the trial.

Professor Paul Moss, from the University of Birmingham and leader of the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium, told a briefing he was surprised how well the vaccines have worked in older people. The approach has been tested against other viruses and studies in animals and people show they stimulate a strong and broad immune response. As part of the process, they both must continue their clinical trials for two years and will continue to report safety and efficacy data as they get it.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday updated its emergency use authorization for the Moderna vaccine to allow deployment of more doses per vial, officials announced.

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