AstraZeneca and Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccines are more effective against the Brazil variant than previously feared.
A study by Oxford University found that the AstraZeneca jab, which it helped develop, and the Pfizer shot work just as well on the Brazilian P.1 strain as against the Kent variant.
The vaccines in use in the UK are already effective against the country’s dominant Kent strain, cutting deaths and hospital admissions by more than 85%.
In the latest study Oxford experts compared blood samples from vaccinated people with samples from previously infected individuals.
They found that the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines had a three-fold reduction in antibody effectiveness against the Brazil and Kent strains when compared with the original coronavirus.
The study said: “These data suggest that natural and vaccine-induced antibodies can still neutralise these variants, but at lower levels.
“Importantly, the P1 ‘Brazilian’ strain may be less resistant to these antibodies than first feared.”
Meanwhile the South African variant saw a greater drop in vaccine effectiveness – seven-fold for the Oxford jab and nine-fold for Pfizer’s, Mail Online reports.
Professor Andrew Pollard, head investigator on the Oxford University vaccine trial, said: “These further efforts to investigate the relationship between changes in the virus and human immunity provide new insights that help us be prepared to respond to further challenges to our health from the pandemic virus, if we need to do so.”
The P.1 mutation first emerged in the Brazilian city of Manaus – one of the worst Covid hotspots in the world.
So far 12 Brazil variant infections have been detected in the UK, compared with 344 South African strain cases.