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Dip Possible

A new analysis suggests that some SARS-CoV-2 variants could affect the effectiveness of current vaccines, the Associated Press reports.

In a preprint posted to bioRxiv, a Rockefeller University-led team of researchers examined the antibody response elicited by E484K47, N501Y, or K417N:E484K:N501Y variants among blood samples obtained from 20 volunteers who had been vaccinated with either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. They found that while the viral variants still led to antibody response, some alterations were associated with a reduced response.

"It's a small difference but it is definitely a difference," study author Michel Nussenzweig from Rockefeller tells the AP.

He and his colleagues write in their preprint that SARS-CoV-2 vaccines may need to be updated over time as new viral variants emerge.

The UK's Telegraph has reported that researchers at Oxford University are working on a new version of their vaccine that accounts for new variants. Moderna has also said it could quickly update its vaccine, if necessary.

The AP adds that a separate preprint posted to bioRxiv from Pfizer-BioNTech researchers reports that their vaccine is effective against the B.1.1.7 strain recently identified in the UK, building on a previous analysis of their vaccine that indicated it would still be effective against the most concerning alteration found among the strains identified in the UK and South Africa. 

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