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An Israeli study found that variant COVID-19 can still infect vaccinated people. Here’s what Dr. Fauci says the study makes sense


A small Israeli study indicated that certain new coronavirus variants could put vaccinated people at a higher risk of breakthrough infections, although US health officials have questioned some of the words. term used in preliminary research.

These types of cases are called “breakthrough infections,” which occur when someone who has completed their COVID-19 vaccine becomes sick with a virus.

The preprinted, published Friday and not yet peer reviewed, drew attention over the weekend after saying that variant B.1.351 is more likely to infect people in Israel who have been vaccinated with Pfizer Inc. .
PFE,
+ 1.01%

Vaccine COVID-19, compared with other strains of virus.

There are a number of related recorded variants, including B.1.351, first identified in South Africa; B.1.1.7, first discovered in England; and P.1 outside Brazil, presumed to be readily transferable.

Researchers have identified 8 cases of breakthrough infections caused by variant B.1.351 and 134 cases of variant B.1.1.7 out of about 400 people included in the study who had the results. tested positive for the virus during or after the vaccination period. The control group of strangely unvaccinated people had only one case caused by B.1.351.

“Our results show a decrease compared with that [South African] only variation for a short period of time (7-13 days after the second dose) because all the breakthrough cases we see are within this timeframe, ”says Adi Stern, professor at Tel Aviv University and one of the co-authors, said in an email. “However, once again the caveat is that our sample sizes are small and this requires further research.”

When asked about the study, federal health officials on Monday lowered the accuracy of the findings.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, told reporters during a brief meeting at the White House. “It looks like you’re more likely to get it [B.1.]351, if in fact, you have been vaccinated against an mRNA. That is not the case. If you are infected with anything, you will get the harder variant, which is 351. That doesn’t mean you have more chance of getting infected. “

Pfizer referred questions about the research to the authors.

What we know so far about vaccines and variants

Fauci said clinical data to date suggest that the mRNA vaccine was developed by Pfizer and BioNTech SE.
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-0.51%
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as well as Moderna Inc.
MRNA,
-1.08%
,
still provides protection against B.1.1.7, but the vaccine’s effectiveness is thought to be reduced compared to variant B.1.351, which is a less common strain of the virus at the moment, at least. in the United States

Both types of mRNA vaccines have had very high efficacy rates in Phase 3 clinical trials, with each reporting a reporting rate of around 95%, although trials were conducted in the fall of the year. last, before two of these new variants were discovered. The real-world efficacy rates for both of these vaccines are thought to be close to 89%, according to at least one pre-print study published by the Mayo Clinic in FebruaryBut that is still considered a very strong protection rate against viruses.

Here’s what we know – and don’t know – about ‘disruptive infections’

Although COVID-19 vaccination can significantly reduce the likelihood of someone becoming infected with the virus, breakthrough infections are possible with this vaccine, especially with variables. This new, more infectious form of the coronavirus is circulating around the world.

Moderna said last month it would begin a clinical trial, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, on a special vaccine that aims to protect against variant B.1.351. Pfizer is also running tests for a booster shot and a new vaccine specifically targeting the South African variant.

“What we do know when these breakthrough infections do happen is that they tend to happen with fewer symptoms, fewer viruses, [and] Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during Monday’s briefings. “We are still working on how this virus is transmissible in the context of these breakthrough infections.”

Fauci added: Mutant infections can also happen if someone’s immunity weakens, a shot is damaged due to something like storage problems, someone’s age or medications restrict a person’s response. their immunity, Fauci added.

This is why Americans are so attentive to Israel’s vaccination campaign

Of all the countries in the world that have vaccination campaigns, Israel has vaccinated the largest percentage of the population. About 53% of people in Israel have been fully vaccinated as of Sunday, according to a government panel. Meanwhile, the US vaccinated about 22% of the population despite the much larger population on Monday, According to the CDC.

The Pfizer vaccine is the primary shot used during the Israeli campaign and so the countries that are also relying on that drugmaker’s vaccine are curious to see what real data about Israel right now, Although there are significant differences between immunization procedures between countries.

The Israeli study also found that variant B.1.1.7 (UK) was the most dominant virus in Israel (like in America) although strain B.1.351 (South Africa) only accounted for less than 1% of cases included in the study.

“There may be a higher vaccine breakout rate with B.1.351, but it is possible that (a) vaccine efficacy coupled with enacted non-pharmaceutical interventions are still sufficient to halt the spread of it, and / or (b) B.1.1.7
The researchers concluded that it surpassed B.1.351, possibly due to its high baud rate.

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