Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Effectiveness May Decline, Data From Israel Suggests

New data from Israel suggests that the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine against infection may have declined, though it still protects against severe disease, the New York Times reports.

Earlier this month, health officials in Israel reported 64 percent of vaccinated individuals were protected against infection during a Delta variant outbreak and 94 percent were protected against severe illness. The new numbers say that the vaccine was 39 percent effective in preventing infection between late June and early July — when the Delta variant became more common in Israel — while it was 95 percent effective against preventing infection between January and early April, the Times says. It notes that, for both timeframes, the vaccine was more than 90 percent effective in preventing severe disease.

The Times cautions that the study was small, and Haaretz notes that the data in the study could be skewed as many of the tests were carried out in virus hotspots and among the elderly. BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin tells the Wall Street Journal that it appears that antibody titers do wane but that there is no evidence that cellular immunity falls.

This, the Times adds, feeds into questions of whether a vaccine booster might be needed, which US officials have said currently is not needed. Israel, Haaretz notes, has begun administering boosters to immunocompromised individuals.

The Scan

Call for a Different Tack

Experts weigh the value of recent experiments testing genetically modified pig kidneys using brain-dead individuals, according to Nature News.

Wastewater Warning

The New York Times reports that wastewater surveillance in some parts of the US point to a possible surge.

Can't Get in the Program

Due to the Northern Ireland protocol dispute, the European Union is preventing UK researchers from joining the Horizon Europe research program, the Times of London reports.

Science Paper on Spatial-Controlled Genome Editing

In Science this week: approach to enable a CRISPR-Cas13a-based system to be used as a cancer therapy.