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A dangerous feature of the new COVID strain revealed by experts

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There is a “strong likelihood” that new variants of the coronavirus could make the covid 19 vaccine ineffective over time, researchers say.

The new South African strain of coronavirus has proven to be more resistant to antibodies, data from clinical trials of two COVID-19 vaccines showed.

New information means that the person receiving the vaccine is much less protected from infection with the South African strain when exposed to it.

Vaccines from Novavax Inc and Johnson and Johnson have proven to be significantly less effective in preventing COVID-19 in trial participants in South Africa, where mutated coronavirus is spreading.

The Novavax vaccine, which is 89.3 percent effective for the original virus, is only 50 percent effective in people in South Africa. 

Johnson & Johnson said a single dose of the coronavirus vaccine was 66 per cent effective overall across three continents, but there were large differences across regions.

In the United States, the effectiveness of Johnson & Johnson preparations reached 72 percent, compared with 57 percent in South Africa.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla says that there is a “high possibility” that new variants of the coronavirus could over time render the company’s vaccine ineffective.

“This is not the case yet … but I think it’s a very high likelihood that one day that will happen,” Bourla predicted at the World Economic Forum

At the same time, scientists noted that the best way to prevent further evolution of the virus is to stop its reproduction. This means that people need to be vaccinated as soon as possible.

Dr Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security says that “The end game is to stop death, to stop hospitals from going into crisis – and all of these vaccines, even including against the South African variant, seem to do that substantially”.

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci also called “The best way to prevent further evolution of a virus is to prevent it from replicating and you do that by vaccinating people as quickly as you possibly can.”

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