Pfizer and BioNTech, makers of the Covid-19 vaccine, said Thursday that their product is effective against variants of the Coronavirus that have emerged in Britain and South Africa.
The two companies said in a statement that the “small differences” discovered in tests that compared the original virus and recent versions “are unlikely to lead to a significant decrease in the effectiveness of the vaccine.”
While the results indicated that a new vaccine was not needed to deal with the new strains, Pfizer and BioNTech said they would respond if there was evidence that the variants could defeat their current vaccine.
They said they would continue to monitor the “real-world effectiveness” of the vaccine, including against new strains.
“Pfizer and BioNTech believe that the flexibility of BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine platform is well suited to developing new vaccine variants if needed,” they said.
The daily global deaths from Covid-19 surpassed 18,000 for the first time on Wednesday, as vaccines are seen as the only real chance to return to a form of normal life.