Pfizer jab protects against Indian strain, despite less effective: study

Paris, France: The Pfizer vaccination although is slightly less efficient but still appears to protect against the more transmissible Indian form of the virus that causes Covid-19, according to research 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 included 28 healthcare personnel from Orleans. Sixteen had received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 12 had got only one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccination.

According to the study, people who got two Pfizer dosages showed a three-fold drop in antibodies against the Indian variety, B.1.617, but were still protected.

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

Patients who had Covid-19 within the last year and those who had two doses of Pfizer vaccine had enough antibodies to protect them against the Indian variety, but three to six times fewer antibodies than those who received Covid-19 in the UK, according to Schwartz.

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

The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19 has generated various varieties since first appearing in late 2019 in China, most of which are named after the countries where it first occurred, such as the so-called South Africa and UK strains.

The variety discovered first in India appears to be far more transmissible than previous variants.

According to a World Health Organization report, it has now been officially recorded in 53 countries.

France and Germany have reintroduced stricter regulations on arrivals from afflicted nations, notably the United Kingdom, in an attempt to stem the spread.

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