Dr. Anthony Fauci, the senior U.S. infectious disease expert, said Monday that an Israeli study on the effectiveness of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine against the South African variant is misleading, Reuters reported.
He added that he would be careful about drawing conclusion regarding the vaccine’s efficacy against the variant, which might be more successful than the latest data seemed to suggest.
Findings from a real-world study conducted by Clalit Health Services and Tel Aviv University released over the weekend indicated that the South African variant is more likely to cause infection, even after two doses.
However, Dr. Fauci explained in an interview with Fox news that the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines still promise to be effective at preventing serious illness and death.
The Israeli study focused on the ability of the vaccine to prevent infection, not serious symptoms.
“So what might happen is that when you get these new variants, some of them may not be protected against when you’re talking about mild-to-moderate disease, but at the same time, people are not going to get severely ill and wind up dying,” Fauci said.