Vincent Kalut / Photonews via Getty Images Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine
Amid concerns about the new, faster-spreading COVID-19 strain, researchers at Pfizer have said that their vaccine should still be effective at fighting the virus.
The new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7, emerged soon after the Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer's vaccine and the country began distributing it around the country, leaving people concerned that the vaccine would not work against the strain. But a study from Pfizer released Tuesday said that it is "unlikely" that there will be any issues.
The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, tested a small number of blood samples from people who have been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine against a synthetic version of the new strain.
The researchers said that the antibodies produced by the vaccine were effective in "neutralizing" the strain, "making it unlikely that the B.1.1.7 lineage will escape" and resist the vaccine.
The results, while preliminary, assuaged fears that the vaccine will not work or will need to be reformulated. They also come as the new strain begins to take hold in the U.S. As of Jan. 18, the Centers for Disease Control has identified 122 cases with the B.1.1.7 lineage, although officials at the federal health agency believe that the actual number of cases is higher and growing.
RELATED VIDEO: President Joe Biden Receives Second Dose of COVID-19 Vaccination
Joe Biden Receives Second Dose of COVID-19 Vaccination
President-elect Joe Biden received his second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, three weeks after getting his first one
The CDC said Friday that it expects the strain to become the dominant COVID-19 variant by March, potentially driving infections and deaths higher at a time when they are already well out of control in the U.S.
As of Jan. 20, nearly one year to the day since the first U.S. case was reported, more than 24,311,200 Americans have tested positive for COVID-19, and at least 401,823 people have died from the virus, according to The New York Times.
To combat the virus and the new strain, the CDC urged Americans to continue to COVID-19 safety precautions like mask-wearing and social distancing, and to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.