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Are the vaccines effective against all the variants of concern?
Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna say their COVID-19 vaccines appear to be effective against two variants of concern first identified in the U.K. and South Africa, based on blood samples from people who have been vaccinated. But more research is needed on the pair of vaccines, while other vaccine candidates already have some real-world data on their effectiveness against the variants.
The good news is the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 doesn’t seem to mutate as much or as quickly as the influenza virus that causes the flu. Even with the current, more transmissible variants of concern, people who’ve been vaccinated are not falling severely ill or dying from COVID-19 in large numbers.
But to prepare in case that starts to happen, drugmakers are already re-working their vaccines.
Phil Dormitzer, one of Pfizer’s top viral vaccine scientists, said last week that his company has already made a template for a prototype vaccine targeting the variant first identified in South Africa…