The coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa can “break through” Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine to some extent, a real-world data study in Israel found, though its prevalence in the country is low and the research has not been peer reviewed.
The South African variant, B-1-351, was found to make up about one per cent of all the Covid-19 cases across all the people studied, according to the study by Tel Aviv University and Israel’s largest healthcare provider, Clalit.
But among patients who had received two doses of the vaccine, the variant’s prevalence rate was eight times higher than those unvaccinated — 5.4pc versus 0.7pc.
This suggests the vaccine is less effective against the South African variant, compared with the original coronavirus and a variant first identified in Britain that has come to comprise nearly all Covid-19 cases in Israel, the researchers said.
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