The coronavirus variant BQ.1.1 has also arrived in Austria. Research by the U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer brought good news on Friday: the bivalent Omicron vaccine developed with Biontech in Mainz also helps against the new mutation, the German medical journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt reported on Friday.
“Biontech/Pfizer’s bivalent Covid-19 vaccine adapted to Omicron BA.4/BA.5 probably also protects against the BA.1.5 subline BQ.1.1, which is currently spreading in Germany. Laboratory studies by the manufacturer indicate this, reports the Journal of the German Medical Association (online edition).
There had been an announcement from the pharmaceutical company in the afternoon. BQ.1.1 differs by three mutations in the spike protein gene (R346T, K444T, and N460K) from BA.4/BA.5, whose spike gene is part of the current bivalent vaccines from Biontech/Pfizer and Moderna, it said.
Pfizer has had the question of whether the mutation could escape vaccine protection studied by scientists at the University of Texas at Galveston.
According to the data now published, the bivalent vaccine increased antibody levels against BA.4/5 from 66 to 856 GMT (unit of mass; note), a factor of 13, while the original vaccine only achieved an increase from 82 to 236 (by a factor of 2.9; note). This confirmed that BNT162b2 in the current configuration performed its task better than the first corona mRNA vaccine.
For BQ.1.1, there was a GMT increase from 29 to 252 (by a factor of 8.7) after the bivalent booster compared with an increase from 31 to 58 (by a factor of 1.8) with a monovalent booster. BNT162b2 (Biontech/Pfizer’s Comirnaty mRNA vaccine, note) was thus better to protect against variant BQ.1.1 than the first vaccine in its current configuration. However, the protective effect could be weaker than against the omicron variants BA.4/BA.5.
The proportion of BQ.1 or BQ.1.1 is steadily increasing.
According to the monitoring of the variants by the Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) and the Institute for Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA), the proportion of new mutations BQ.1 or BQ.1.1 has increased steadily in recent weeks in this country to currently 13 to 14 percent.
-source: krone.at/picture: pixabay.com