NY Covid Variant Does Not Escape Vaccines, Experiments Show

NY Covid variant
A bottle of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at the historic Greater Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida, U.S. February 14, 2021. REUTERS/Octavio Jones

Antibodies induced by the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines and the antibody therapy from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals all are able to neutralize a coronavirus variant on the rise in New York, lab experiments show.

The New York variant contains mutations — E484K, S477N and D235G — that experts feared might reduce antibody efficacy. The new results “show that this potential problem is not going to be a problem,” said Nathaniel Landau of New York University, who coauthored a report posted Wednesday on bioRxiv ahead of peer review.

The mutations all cause changes to the spike protein the virus uses to infect cells and are located in the part of the spike protein where antibodies bind. The researchers exposed replicas of the New York variant to blood from recipients of either the vaccines or the Regeneron antibody combination used to treat infected patients.

Antibodies induced by the vaccines were “very effective at binding to the altered spike protein,” Landau said. The Regeneron therapy also was “still a potent blocker” of the virus.

“The vaccines are very effective at stopping this highly contagious variant strain of SARS COV2 which is why it is more important than ever to get vaccinated,” Landau said.

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