Highly Likely COVID Vaccine Will Work on New Strain: BioNTech CEO
The new strain has been detected mainly in London and southeast of England, and sparked concern worldwide.
German pharmaceutical company BioNTech believes that its COVID-19 vaccine will work against the new strain of the coronavirus, but further studies are required to be completely positive, its chief executive said on Tuesday, 22 December.
The new, mutated virus has been detected mainly in London and southeast of England in recent weeks, and sparked concern worldwide resulting in travel bans in several countries. While there is no indication it causes more serious illness, it has been proven to be 70 percent more transmissible.
If the vaccine needs adjustment for the new variant, the pharmaceutical firm could do so in about 6 weeks, said CEO Ugur Sahin. It would then have to go through regulators’ approval.
“We don’t know at the moment if our vaccine is also able to provide protection against this new variant,” Sahin told a press conference the day after the vaccine was approved for use in the European Union, according to Associated Press.
“But scientifically, it is highly likely that the immune response by this vaccine also can deal with the new virus variants,” he added, saying that since the proteins on the variant are 99 percent the same as the previous strain, BioNTech has “scientific confidence” that its vaccine will work against the new strain.
(With inputs from Associated Press)
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