Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The good news: Pfizer vaccine stops Covid-19 spread, study in Israel shows | HEALTH


The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for Covid-19 has been shown to stop the infection of the vast majority of people who have received it in Israel, at the first sign in real life that immunization drastically reduces the spread of coronavirus.

The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, which has been administered in Israel since 20 December, proved to be 89.4% effective in preventing laboratory-confirmed infection, according to a copy of a study posted on Twitter. The two companies collaborated with the Israeli Ministry of Health in the preliminary analysis of the findings, which has not yet been evaluated by peers.

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Some scientists question the accuracy of the results, the latest in a string of positive data coming from Israel, which has given more vaccines per capita to its citizens than any other country on the planet. Almost half of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. On Saturday, the country’s authorities announced that the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine is 99% effective in preventing deaths from Covid-19. These first facts – especially if confirmed – are encouraging because they show that the vaccine may prevent even asymptomatic carriers from transmitting the coronavirus, which has not been clear so far as clinical trials on the safety and efficacy of vaccines have focused on to stop the symptomatic infections.

Herd immunity

“These are the facts we need to look at to assess the likelihood of getting herd immunity with vaccines,” the epidemiologist told Bloomberg. Reina McIntyre, professor of biosafety at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. “However, we need to look at the results, which will have been peer-reviewed, in order to study them in detail,” he added.

Pfizer / BioNTech said they were analyzing real data coming from Israel on the effectiveness of the vaccine, which they will announce once they have completed the study. The study was not designed to accurately measure the reduction in coronavirus spread because it used national diagnostic test data, without taking into account differences in test rates between vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals, she said. Joey McLaren, Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “The main outcome is overestimating the reduction in transmission from the Pfizer vaccine,” he said. in diagnostic tests, so the data will underestimate the number of cases, especially asymptomatic ones, in this group, he said.

“More data are needed” on the effectiveness of the vaccine

“And that means that the real reduction in transmission is lower than the estimated 89.4%. How much lower? We will need more information to know exactly. “But I expect that when all the parameters have been taken into account, we will again find that the vaccine reduces the spread and this will be very good news,” he noted. About 80% of SARS-CoV-2 cases in Israel during the study, from 17 January to 6 February, were caused by the most contagious strain first detected in Britain. Israel’s vaccination effort began shortly before the so-called B.1.1.7 variant appeared, triggering a wave of infections and leading to a third lockdown on January 8.

By February 6, approximately 27% of people aged 15 and over in Israel had been fully vaccinated with the only vaccine available in the country until then, that of Pfizer / BioNTech. Individuals were considered fully vaccinated and included in the assay more than seven days after the second dose.

“Based on the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2, a vaccine that is 89% effective in preventing infection is likely to be effective in eradicating Covid-19 in a population with high vaccination coverage,” said the University’s vaccine specialist. , Ellen Petoussi-Harris. Elimination of Covid-19 will depend on the potential “reservoirs” of SARS-CoV-2 in animals, genetic changes in the coronavirus, which could allow it to escape vaccine-induced immunity and the ability to stop worldwide transmission, Harris said.

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