The BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and its partner BioNTech (NSDQ:BNTX) leads to a strong neutralizing antibody response to the B.1.617 variant, according to a recent study published in Nature.
The study focused on the B.1.617.2 subtype of the virus. Two others exist, known as B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.3.
The study did acknowledge that the antibody response to the B.1.617 was less robust than it was for the USA-WA1/2020 strain.
The study concluded that mass immunization with the BNT162b2 vaccine should be a central strategy to end the pandemic.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, recently told The Washington Post that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine would likely offer similar protection to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Researchers first identified the B.1.617 variant in India. The so-called Delta variant now accounts for approximately 6% of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. It is also the dominant variant in the U.K. Various subtypes of B.1.617 exist.
The predominance of B.1.617 in the U.K. underscores its potential to outcompete against B.1.1.7, the so-called “U.K. strain” that became dominant in the U.S. in April.
Scientists believe that the B1.617 variant is more infectious wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and more likely to cause illness in children. The variant also appears to resist specific monoclonal antibody treatments, according to CDC.
CDC classifies B.1.617 as a “variant of interest.”
Filed Under: Infectious Disease