Demonstrates Sera from Individuals Immunized with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Neutralize SARS-CoV-2 with South African Variant Spike Mutations
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) today announced results from an in vitro study that provides additional data on the capability of sera from individuals immunized with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (BNT162b2) to neutralize SARS-CoV-2 with the South African variant spike protein.
This study, which builds on previous work, was conducted by Pfizer and the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), and results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The current in vitro study investigated the full set of South African variant (also known as B.1.351 lineage) spike mutations. To this aim, three genetically engineered recombinant viruses were produced.
One virus had the full set of spike glycoprotein mutations found in the South African variant and the other two had subsets of these mutations. The viruses were tested against a panel of sera from 20 participants in the previously reported Phase 3 trial who had been immunized with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Although the results indicated a reduction in neutralization of virus with all the South African variant spike glycoprotein mutations, all the sera neutralized all the viruses tested. This finding is consistent with recent reports of the neutralization of variant SARS-CoV-2 or corresponding pseudoviruses by convalescent or post-immunization sera.i,ii
There is no clinical evidence to date that the South African variant virus escapes BNT162b2-elicited protection from COVID-19 in vaccinated people. Nevertheless, Pfizer and BioNTech are taking the necessary steps, making the right investments, and engaging in the appropriate conversations with regulators to be in a position to develop and seek authorization for an updated mRNA vaccine or booster once a strain that significantly reduces the protection from the vaccine is identified.
Pfizer and BioNTech are currently evaluating neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 with the Brazilian strain spike mutations, as well as mutations from other emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, and they continue to conduct studies to monitor the vaccine’s real-world effectiveness. Pfizer and BioNTech believe that the flexibility of BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA vaccine platform is well suited to develop new vaccine variants if required.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has not been approved or licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but has been authorized for emergency use by FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for use in individuals 16 years of age and older.
The emergency use of this product is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of the medical product under Section 564 (b) (1) of the FD&C Act unless the declaration is terminated or authorization revoked sooner. Please see Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine (Vaccination Providers) including Full EUA Prescribing Information available at www.cvdvaccine.com.
The vaccine, which is based on BioNTech proprietary mRNA technology, was developed by both BioNTech and Pfizer. BioNTech is the Marketing Authorizations Holder in the European Union, and the holder of emergency use authorizations or equivalent in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and other countries in advance of a planned application for full marketing authorizations in these countries.
Jerica Pitts,Jasmina Alatovic- photo BionTech