The new COVID-19 variant discovered in Australia can “breakthrough” Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine to some extent, a real-world data study in Israel found. However, the study’s prevalence in the country is relatively low, and the research has not been peer-reviewed yet.
The Israeli study, which was released on Saturday, compared nearly four hundred people who had tested positive for the respiratory disease, two weeks or more after receiving one or two shots of the vaccine, against the same number of uninoculated patients with the coronavirus.
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According to the study by Israel’s largest healthcare provider, Clalit, and Tel Aviv University, the new variant was found to account for about one percent of all the coronavirus cases across all the patients studied. However, for the people who had received two vaccine shots, the new variant’s prevalence rate was eight times that of those unvaccinated – 5.4% versus 0.7%.
The study suggests that the Pfizer jab is less effective against the variant than the original circus and a variant first identified in the United Kingdom that has come to comprise nearly all coronavirus confirmed cases in Israel stated.
The researchers warned that the study only had a small sample of infected individuals with the new variant as it’s rare in Israel. They further argued that their research was not intended to the efficacy of the shot against any variant since it only looked at the patients who had already tested positive for the respiratory disease, not at overall infection rates.
Pfizer and BioNTech did not immediately react to the Israeli study. But on April 1, both companies stated that their jab was around 91% effective at preventing the deadly disease, citing new trial data that included participants vaccinated for more than and up to six months.
Referring to the South African variant, the researchers stated that among a group of 800 volunteers in South Africa, where B.1.351 is common, nine coronavirus cases occurred among volunteers who got the placebo. Out of nine points, as many as six were among patients infected with the variant.
A total of 53% of Israel’s 9.3 million people have received both Pfizer doses. The country has largely reopened its economic activities in recent weeks while the coronavirus outbreak appears to be receding, with infection rates, hospitalizations, and civilized dropping sharply. About a third of Israelis are below the age of 16, which means they are still not eligible for the shot.