There are around 4,000 variants of the virus that causes Covid-19 around the world now, so all vaccine manufacturers including Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca Plc are trying to improve their vaccines, a British minister said.
“Its very unlikely that the current vaccine won’t be effective on the variants whether in Kent or other variants especially when it comes to severe illness and hospitalisation,” Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi told Sky.
“All manufacturers, Pfizer-Biontech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and others are looking at how they can improve their vaccine to make sure that we are ready for any variant – there are about 4,000 variants around the world of Covid now.”
While thousands of variants have arisen as the virus mutates on replication, only a very small minority are likely to be important and to change the virus in an appreciable way, according to the British Medical Journal.
“We have the largest genome sequencing industry – we have about 50% of the world’s genome sequencing industry – and we are keeping a library of all the variants so that we are ready to respond – whether in the autumn or beyond – to any challenge that the virus may present and produce the next vaccine,” Zahawi said.
The novel coronavirus – known by scientists as SARS-CoV-2 – has killed 2.268 million people worldwide since it emerged in China in late 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
However, Pfizer earlier said its vaccine appears effective against new covid-19 variant
According to a laboratory study conducted by the U.S. drugmaker found, Pfizer Inc and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine appeared to work against a key mutation in the highly transmissible new variants of the coronavirus discovered in the UK and South Africa.
The new variants of coronavirus are causing a major concern on the globe. However, they both share a common mutation called N501Y that is a slight alteration on one spot of the spike protein that coats the virus.
Hence, this change is supposed to be the reason they can spread so easily and rapidly.