Pfizer vaccine effective against COVID-19 variants, UTMB study shows

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- There is some much-needed good news in the fight against COVID-19, specifically when it comes to battling worrisome mutations of the virus.

The Houston Health Department reported several coronavirus variants have shown up in the wastewater surveillance program, which tracks the virus.

WATCH: Variants in Houston wastewater: Should we be alarmed?
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Houston's health authority Dr. David Persse says the city has found the South African and Brazilian COVID-19 variants in the city's wastewater, but should we be alarmed? Here's what he had to say.



A study created in collaboration with the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, indicates the Pfizer vaccine is effective against these known mutations, specifically the U.K. variant and the Brazil version, the latter of which has spread rapidly across causing a surge of new cases and deaths.

SEE ALSO: UK variant found in 31 of 39 wastewater treatment plants, city says

Dr. Pei-Yong Shi with UTMB told ABC13 the study shows encouraging developments. He also said the findings should generally apply to both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson versions of the vaccine due to the similar ways they help the body fight the virus.

"That's why we think the general information of this study can apply to the other vaccines, but it would be great for that to be further validated with other vaccine blood serum," Shi said.

SEE ALSO: 3 new COVID-19 variants emerging in Houston area, study findings show

The study showed the vaccine didn't cause as strong of an immune reaction against the South African variant, but Shi points out that does not mean the vaccine is ineffective against that variant, only that it's not as strong as it is against the U.K. and Brazil viral mutations.

Shi said the methods used to create the vaccines are highly adaptable and if a new variant emerges that the vaccines are not effective against, they can be adapted fairly quickly.

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