The study, which has not been peer-reviewed yet, determined that the variant known as B.1.351 was able to evade some of the protection given by the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The research was conducted by Tel Aviv University and Clalit, the biggest healthcare organization in Israel. The study consisted of 400 individuals that tested positive for COVID-19 after receiving one dose of the vaccine.
The study found that the variant from South Africa was more prevalent in individuals who had received two doses of the vaccine. This data suggests that vaccinated individuals have a higher chance of contracting the B.1.351 strain compared to the original virus.
“Based on patterns in the general population, we would have expected just one case of the South African variant, but we saw eight,” Professor Adi Stern, who led the research, said. “We can say it’s less effective, but more research is needed to establish exactly how much.”
There has been growing concern around the mutated strains and their ability to evade protections from vaccines. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has been vocal about her concern over the mutated strains. “I’m going to pause here, I’m going to lose the script, and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” she said March 29. “We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope, but right now I’m scared.”
Israel is currently leading the world in vaccinations per capita.