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The B.1.351 SARS-CoV-2 viral variant first identified in South Africa may spur the development of better vaccines, Bloomberg reports.

Initial studies have suggested that some current vaccines may elicit a lower neutralizing antibody response when faced with the B.1.351 variant and some vaccine developers have reported lower efficacy of their vaccines in South Africa where B.1.351 is prevalent. There are also indications, Bloomberg adds, that the variant may be more transmissible.

According to Bloomberg, researchers in South Africa from Krisp have found that antibodies generated in response to exposure to the B.1.351 SARS-CoV-2 viral variant, also known as 501Y.V2, additionally provide protection against the initial pandemic SARS-CoV-2 virus.

"If you are actually infected with this variant or you can design a vaccine with this variant it might provide cross-protection against other variants," Alex Sigal from the African Health Research Institute said during a webinar, according to Bloomberg. "It might leave the virus with not much room to go.