According to Tim Bierley, a pharma campaigner for the group, mRNA vaccines should have revolutionised the global Covid response, but Pfizer is withholding this essential medical innovation from the world, ripping public health systems off for an "eye-watering mark-up." Photograph:( Reuters )
The South African variant is considered among the more dangerous of current mutations because it evades some of the blocking action of antibodies that target the older coronavirus strain.
Pfizer and BioNTech have been studying adding a third dose to their vaccine regime and testing a new version that will target the South African variant of the coronavirus.
The South African variant is considered among the more dangerous of current mutations because it evades some of the blocking action of antibodies that target the older coronavirus strain. Concerns have since risen that more transmissible variants such as the one first detected in South Africa or another in Britain are more resistant to existing vaccines.
That means people who were infected with the classic strain are more susceptible to reinfection, and research has also shown the variant has partly reduced the protection of the current generation of vaccines.
In one study, the US and German pharmaceutical firms said they would look at what happens when people are given a third dose of their two-shot vaccine, six to 12 months after the booster.
They are also talking to regulators about testing a modified version of their original vaccine to address the South African variant known as B.1.351.
Moderna, the other company whose vaccine has been approved for emergency use in America, said Wednesday that doses of its new Covid-19 vaccine candidate aimed at the South African coronavirus variant had been shipped to the US National Institutes of Health for testing.