BNT162b2 Vaccination Effectively Combats the Rapid Rise of SARS-CoV-2 Variant B.1.1.7 in High Risk Populations in Israel
13 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2021 Publication Status: PublishedMore...
Background: Since the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, various generic variants have been described. Of specific interest is a new variant, which was observed in England during December 2020 and is now termed B.1.1.7. This variant was suggested to be associated with increased infectivity and therefore its pattern of spread within the community is of great importance. The Israeli government established three noteworthy programs namely, massive RT-PCR testing, focused protection of the elderly and a robust prioritized vaccination program with BNT162b2.
Objective: To define the impact of vaccination regimes on the spread of the B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 variant.
Methods: In this study we analyzed primary data from over 300,000 RT-PCR samples collected from December 6th 2020 to February 10th 2021 in the general community and nursing homes.
Results: We identified that within a period of 3.5 weeks, the B.1.1.7 variant was capable of out competing the wild type SARS-CoV-2 strain to become the dominant strain. Furthermore, we found that transmission of B.1.1.7 in the 60+ population was prevented, due to an ongoing surveillance testing program in nursing homes together with the vaccination program of Israel.
Conclusions: proactive protection programs such as routine surveillance and monitoring of populations at risk combined with prioritized vaccination, is achievable and thus will result in a reduction of severe illness and subsequent death.
Funding: DY acknowledges funding from the European Research Council project #949850. The funders has no role in the design of the study, collection, analysis, and interpretation of data. MA is supported by the US-Israel Bi-national Science Foundation (US-BSF) (grant no. 2015163), by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) (grants no. 886/15 and 542/20), the Israel Cancer Research Fund, the Richard Eimert Research Fund on Solid Tumors (TAU), the Israel Cancer Association Avraham Rotstein Donation, the Cancer Biology Research Center (TAU) and the Emerson Collective. GM acknowledges funding from Alpha-1 foundation grant #615533 and US-BSF grant#2017176, ISF grant #818/18.
Conflict of Interest: The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Ethical Approval: Tel Aviv University Ethics approval number: 0002746-2.
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