Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Recipients Have Lower Antibody Level
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People who have had the Pfizer vaccine have lower antibody levels targeting the Indian variant, also known as Delta, than those against previously circulating variants in the UK, new data suggests. The research also suggests the levels of these antibodies are lower with increasing age and that levels decline over time.

The study found that after just one dose of the Pfizer jab, people are less likely to develop antibody levels against the Indian (B.1.617.2) variant, as high as those seen against the previously dominant Kent variant (B.1.1.7) also known as Alpha. A total of 12,431 cases of the mutation have been confirmed in the UK up to June 2, according to Public Health England.

Within days of having enough of each variant to study, researchers analysed antibodies in the blood of 250 healthy people who received either one or two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, up to three months after their first dose. They tested the ability of antibodies to block entry of the virus into cells, so called neutralising antibodies against five different variants – the original strain from China, the dominant strain in Europe during the first wave in April 2020, and the variants first detected in Kent, South Africa and India.

According to the research, in people who had received two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, levels of neutralising antibodies were more than five times lower against the Indian variant when compared to the original strain, upon which current vaccines are based. This antibody response was even lower in people who had only received one dose.

After a single dose of the Pfizer jab, 79 percent of people had a quantifiable neutralising antibody response against the original strain, but this fell to 50 per cent for B.1.1.7, 32 percent for B.1.617.2 and 25 per cent for B.1.351 (South Africa). Researchers have submitted their findings to the Genotype-to-Phenotype National Virology Consortium (G2P-UK), the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The Legacy study is led by the Crick and partners at UCL and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH). “Our study is designed to be responsive to shifts in the pandemic so that we can quickly provide evidence on changing risk and protection. “The most important thing is to ensure that vaccine protection remains high enough to keep as many people out of hospital as possible.

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