The makers of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine announced on Thursday that additional data made available from a longed-term study showed that the vaccine was 91.3% effective in preventing infections front the new B1351 variant of the COVID-19 virus.
Pfizer's Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said that the updated result positions the drug-makers to submit for a full U.S. regulatory approval. As of now the vaccine has only been approved for emergency usage in America.
Results from the study tracked 12,000 inoculated individuals six months after they received the vaccine. The new efficacy rate is lower than the previously reported 95% in a 44000 people trial but is still a ray of hope that the existing vaccine could prevent new variants from infecting those vaccinated. In addition to this, a limited study showed 100% effectiveness in a small group of trial participants.
Ugur Sahin, chief executive officer at BioNTech, said that the first clinical results show "that a vaccine can effectively protect against currently circulating variants, a critical factor to reach herd immunity and end this pandemic for the global population."
New virus variants in South Africa and Brazil have already spread to other countries including France, England and Malaysia.