Vaccine Effectiveness Drops from 90% to 50% Versus South Africa Variant

Clinical trial data on two COVID-19 vaccines are less protective versus the South Africa coronavirus variant.

Novavax reported midstage trial results on Thursday that showed its vaccine was 50% effective overall at preventing COVID-19 among people in South Africa. United Kingdom vaccine results were up to 89.3% effective at preventing COVID-19.

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were around 95% in trials conducted before the new variants spread.

Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said there was “a high possibility” that emerging variants may eventually render the company’s vaccine ineffective.

Last week,

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14 thoughts on “Vaccine Effectiveness Drops from 90% to 50% Versus South Africa Variant”

  1. The vaccine does not have to be perfect. If it can just prevent the virus from killing you and only giving you symptoms of what seems like a bad cold only that would be enough.

  2. In my opinion, if you have the states target their vaccinations towards the most vulnerable populations such as this model at…/10.1101/2020.11.27.20240051v1 ,then you can save several months to significantly cut back transmission thus putting more of a stranglehold on COVID-19 to not mutate as much (play the slots as it were to generate new effective variants that slip by).  We should be on track to get this done in the majority of the states that do this, by May-June (allowing some extra time of course for people’s 2nd dose to get in there and their immune systems to come up to par).  In regards to the South African variant (B.1.351) in South Carolina and other places (presumably), the vaccines can be modified in further booster shots to cover the new differences.  In addition, the Moderna vaccine is expected to have an efficacy of around 70-80% against B.1.351 as reported on CNN and Virologist,David Montefori at Duke University . We are going to win this ‘mathematics’ game the virus and us are in.

    To see where we are in the big picture of the pandemic (with regard to how far the states are on vaccinations), I suggest this tool at

  3. No relationship between receptor binding affinity and mortality rate or R-number and mortality can be assumed.

    The Rt-number can be higher because a virus causes less symptoms, at least initially, in which case it may cause *less* mortality. The Rt-number can be higher just because it escapes existing immunity to the original strain; such a virus could be less well optimized but still outcompete the vanilla version of SARS-CoV-2.

    Having a higher receptor binding affinity means that all things being equal you are more likely to get infected by the same dose of virus. But all things may not be equal; the virus might be less competent to reproduce or evade the immune system due to some tradeoff being made (most parts of a virus have many competing functions; e.g. the spike also binds to bilirubin and biliverdin which helps evade antibody response). A virus that bind more easily to cells might take longer mature into infectious virions, which could more than compensate for ease with which it binds to and infects cells in the body. It might bind better to a receptor, but take longer or be less likely to reach the right receptor conformation that binds to the receptor.

    Reality is monstrously complex and we don't know much of anything in biology until tested in vivo.

  4. There isn't a single number defined as efficacy of a vaccine; there are many and the manufactures all use slightly different ones. Without knowing which one is meant here the articles is quite meaningless.

    Sterilizing immunity means that you not only don't get sick, you don't get infected at all and can't spread the disease to potentially vulnerable. The efficiency of a vaccine at providing sterilizing immunity is one measure. To measure this you have to actively measure people in both control and vaccinated group by repeatedly testing; otherwise you will miss many mild cases. If sterilizing immunity drops a bit and some people in the vaccinated group get a mild cold, it's more of a "who cares"-deal than a deal-breaker for vaccination.

    Not getting seriously ill is another measure of efficacy. For some definition of seriously ill that varies between manufacturers (e.g. anything short of needing in hospital care or supplemental oxygen is one possible definition of not serious). If this drops you're starting to get into a scary position.

    Finally you can count bodies. For some definition of died with or of covid-19. This isn't the usual measure of any of the manufacturers because of the large N required to get good statistics.

  5. Whelp guess that means everyone needs to be locked up for the rest of their lives! I mean, its for your own SAFETY!! Bill Gates' and Klaus Schwab's prison planet.

    FACTS: 99.98% non fatal under 65. Even over 65/70 if you're healthy, your chances are very high. 80 to 95% of ALL deaths are over 80, and/or WITH 2 to 3 comorbidities. (Certain govenors put covid patients INTO nursing homes, which spread the disease to the most vulnerable, and massively increased the death toll)

    Under 30 its LESS dangerous than influenza. This according to a doctor I know who is on the front lines, as well as the statistical evidence. And between 30 and 65 about on average with the seasonal flu.

    Get a grip people before we destroy our own civilization. Suicide and drug overdose is through the roof. Bankruptcies and hunger will soon follow. Btw, this is all a direct result of the large helping of governmental tyranny we have received over the past year, not the virus. You think we will colonize other worlds with this level of unscientific fear mongering and paranoia? Doubtful.

  6. "but 89% effective in preventing severe disease."
    The importance of this tends to get overlooked, we just hear effective or not, but if it prevents severe disease that is really good enough. I am not concerned about the sniffles for a few days, but I don't want to be hooked up to a ventilator and suffer for weeks.

  7. they use the same idea, only a different vehicle. on the positive side these RNA vacins can be quickly finetuned towards newer types (in a few months) though its productin might need to upscale to more countries, production is the problem.

  8. Then even after taking my 2nd Moderna dose I will continue taking ivermectin. It's cheap, no side effects, and widely proven. Its only downside is to Big Pharma's profits. Of my 3 acquaintances that have died with Covid, 2 were lobbyists for Big Pharma.

  9. It's early but the Manaus variant is also looking worrisome.

    It is now about a year into the Covid pandemic. Many more people have the virus now then had it then. That means the virus has done a lot more mutating and evolving in the last three months than the first three.

    In other words, we shouldn't estimate that we'll get two or so significant new variants per year. We should estimate that we're now at a rate of getting that every few months.

    The vaccine rollout complicates things. If everyone got a vaccine tomorrow, it would slow the spread enough that maybe we'd get it under control before it mutates. But a slow rollout means infected people constantly coming in contact with vaccinated people, and the virus is therefore exposed to a selective pressure to overcome the vaccine.

    Currently, it is estimated that the US will be 70-80% vaccinated 7 months from now. By then there will be several new variants, and the current vaccines will probably have less than 60% efficacy on a few of them.

    We are not moving fast enough.

  10. But..60% effective in people who don’t have HIV. (Rate of HIV is very high in South Africa so this skews the results). Also j and j vaccine is also 60% effective in South Africa but 89% effective in preventing severe disease. Which is the most important thing

  11. … And the other variants, not only the British, are also likely to have a higher mortality rate. Why wouldn't they if they are better at bypassing the immune system?

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