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South African COVID-19 Variant Can ‘Penetrate Pfizer’ Jab, Israeli Study Shows

by Maureen Blas / Apr 12, 2021 05:57 AM EDT
South African COVID-19 Variant Can ‘Penetrate Pfizer’ Jab, I

Based on an Israeli study, the South African COVID-19 variant can penetrate Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 jab to some degree. 

The South African COVID-19 variant, B.1.351 was discovered to account for 1% of all the virus cases across all the individuals studied. This is according to Tel Aviv University and Clalit, Israel's biggest healthcare provider. 

The research, which was released on Saturday, assessed about 400 people who had been tested positive for COVID-19. This is two weeks or more after receiving one or two doses of the jab, against the exact number of unimmunized patients with the disease. It corresponded to age and gender, among other particulars. 

The South African COVID-19 variant's ascendancy rate was eight-fold higher compared to those who were not vaccinated, a 5.4% versus 0.7%. It shows that the Pfizer/ BioNTech's COVID-19 jab is less potent against the South African COVID-19 variant. This is in comparison with the original Coronavirus and the initially identified Britain variant that consist of almost all COVID-19 cases in Israel. 

"We found a disproportionately higher rate of the South African variant among people vaccinated with a second dose, compared to the unvaccinated group. This means that the South African variant is able, to some extent, to break through the vaccine's protection," according to Tel Aviv University's Adi Stern Laboratory.

However, the research didn't evaluate if the fully immunized eight Israelis with the South African COVID-19 variant developed serious illnesses. Initially, this Israeli study was a real-world assessment of the South African variant's eligibility to dodge a vaccine. 

Israeli's immunization drive has seen 5.3 million individuals acquire a fundamental dose, while 4.9 million, or 53% of the population, have had two doses. After the operative vaccination rollout, the country has alleviated several of its stipulations. However, different measures still remain in place, such as wearing face masks and the use of a "green passport" system. The latter provides access to certain places exclusively to those who have been vaccinated already. 

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