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'Evidence shows Pfizer vaccine is effective against South African Covid variant mutations'
3 February 2021, 13:00
This is the moment a top virologist told LBC there's evidence that the Pfizer vaccine is effective against the mutations seen in the South African Covid variant.
Emilia Skirmuntt, an evolutionary virologist at the University of Oxford, made the remarks as enhanced mobile testing is being rolled out in some areas of the UK over fears the South African Covid variant is spreading.
So far, over 100 cases of the strain have been identified to date across the UK, across at least eight areas of England.
On Tuesday the Health Secretary announced that there had been 32 cases with a mutation "of concern" in Liverpool and 11 in Bristol, alongside the cases found in the south of England.
Dr Skirmuntt said: "We have evidence that at least the Pfizer vaccine is effective against the mutations which we see in this variant.
"So at the moment we can say that yes it is effective. We observed a little lower neutralisation in [the] case of these mutations, but still on the level which will be effective against it."
Scientists have so far said it is extremely unlikely mutations will make the Covid vaccines useless, but that it may be the case be that the human immune response may not be as strong or prolonged.