As researchers around the world race to see if new coronavirus variants will pose a problem for the vaccines, a second study in two days says a variant from South Africa could possibly do just that.
The variant was first spotted in South Africa in October and has now been found in more than a dozen countries.
In both studies, the work was done in the lab and not in people, so more research is needed to gauge the true threat of the new variant.
In the most recent study, which was small, researchers took antibodies from six people who had been hospitalized with Covid-19 before the new variant was discovered. They found, to varying degrees, that antibodies for all six of the survivors were unable to fully fight off the virus.
It's unclear whether this means someone would be vulnerable to the new variant if they'd already had Covid-19, or what this might mean for people who've been vaccinated.
The findings of this study were very similar to those of a study released Tuesday by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa.
"When you see two groups independently arriving at same basic answer, that's good -- there's more consonance that they are correct," said Jesse Bloom, a virologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
A third study also released Tuesday was more optimistic. It showed that mutations in the new variant allowed them to evade some of the immunity induced by vaccination, but it was far from a complete escape.
That study looked at three mutations in the variant. The South African studies looked at eight.
None of the studies was peer reviewed or published in medical journals.
The most recent study was posted on the website for KRISP, the Kwazulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform.