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As the virus that causes COVID-19 continues to evolve, drug makers are racing to adapt their vaccines to the changes in the virus' genetic code that appear to help it escape our immune defenses.

Of the three "variants of concern" recognized by the World Health Organization and the CDC, studies have shown that the mRNA vaccines created by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, as well as the Novavax vaccine, remain highly effective against the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first recognized in the United Kingdom.

The mRNA vaccines are 4- to 7-fold less effective against the P.1 variant, which was first discovered in Brazil, but they still appear to be within an important "cushion of protection," particularly after two doses, and should prevent disease, according to Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

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