Presumably, it leads to the production of fewer antibodies
A laboratory study found that a South African strain of the coronavirus may have reduced the level of antibody protection afforded by the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by two-thirds.
It is not yet clear whether the vaccine will be effective against the mutation, the companies said.
For the study, company researchers and scientists from the University of Texas Medical Branch used genetic engineering techniques to create a version of the virus that contains the same mutations as a highly contagious variant of the coronavirus first found in South Africa.
The researchers tested the engineered virus on blood samples taken from people who received the vaccine and found that the number of antibodies produced was two-thirds lower than when exposed to the most common version of the virus, which dominated clinical trials in the United States.
However, there is as yet no data based on human trials showing that this version of the virus weakens vaccine protection, the companies said.