JOHANNESBURG - It turns out the Pfizer vaccine is effective against the COVID-19 501.v2 variant first discovered in South Africa.
A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that the vaccine may be able to protect against severe disease and death.
Government has since offered one million AstraZeneca vaccines to the African Union after it emerged the jab provides minimal protection against the variant.
Co-author of the study, Doctor Pei-Yong Shi from the University of Texas Medical Branch, explains how researchers came to this conclusion.
"We used engineering to engineer the complete mutation from the South African stand into the original virus, creating a pair of viruses," says Shi.
"The spike protein is the most critical viral protein that engages the cell for infection," he says.
Shi says that the vaccine will remain to be quite active against the Africa variant.