Pfizer and BioNTech reported that their COVID-19 vaccine is still effective against new coronavirus variants discovered in the United Kingdom and South Africa.
In a statement, the vaccine makers said that the “small differences” detected in tests comparing the original virus and the recent versions “are unlikely to lead to a significant reduction in the effectiveness of the vaccine.”
While the new findings mean that there is no need to create new vaccines against the new variants, Pfizer said that they will monitor the situation should the need arise and if new variants will defeat their vaccine.
Pfizer said that they will also continue to look into the real-world effectiveness of their vaccine against the new strains.
“Pfizer and BioNTech believe that the flexibility of BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA vaccine platform is well suited to develop new vaccine variants if required,” the companies said.
On Wednesday, the global coronavirus disease cases or COVID-19 has reached 100 million according to the tally made by Johns Hopkins University.
The grim milestone comes three months since global cases reached 50 million cases and over a year since the first recorded case was discovered in Wuhan,China.
The U.S. remains the leader in recorded cases of the coronavirus with more than 25 million infections. India ranks second with more than 10.5 million cases, and Brazil third with almost nine million, according to Johns Hopkins.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has grown at a rate of roughly 4-5 million cases per week since December according to the World Health Organization.
The 100 million mark comes as many parts of the world are struggling in emerging new variants of the virus including the more transmissible ones from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.
The global death toll is now at over 2 million. (TDT)