By Rama Venkat, Reuters
Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc are testing their COVID-19 vaccines against the new fast-spreading version of the virus that has emerged in Britain, CNN reported on Tuesday.
Moderna expects immunity from its vaccine to protect against the variants and is performing more tests in the coming weeks to confirm, the company said in a statement to CNN.
Pfizer said it is “generating data” on how well blood samples from people immunized with its vaccine “may be able to neutralize the new strain from the UK,” according to the report.
Pfizer and Moderna did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.
The discovery of the new strain sowed a fresh wave of panic in a pandemic that has killed about 1.7 million people and infected more than 77.15 million worldwide.
The main worry is that the new variant is 40%-70% more transmissible.
Scientists have said there’s no evidence that vaccines currently being deployed in the United Kingdom – made by Pfizer and BioNTech – or other COVID-19 shots in development will not protect against this variant, known as the B.1.1.7 lineage.