By Matthew Roscoe • 22 December 2020 • 10:34
BIONTECH announce that they could provide new vaccine ‘in six weeks’ in case of virus mutation, its chief executive said Tuesday, December 22.
The head of BioNTech assured that the German company was capable of supplying a new vaccine “within six weeks” in the event of a mutation of the virus, at a time when Europe is worried about a variant of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom, which is potentially more virulent and transmissible.
For the time being, there is no indication that the vaccine initially planned, which was just validated by the European Union on Monday, would not work against this variant.
Despite this, the mutation concerns the protein used in the vaccine, which has raised concerns in recent days. The head of BioNTech was reassuring and indicated that a new vaccine could be delivered in a month and a half.
BioNTech CEO says it is “highly likely” that the vaccine will work against new UK mutation. “We have scientific confidence…[that it will provide protection] but we will know about two weeks from now”, he adds – once tests are carried out.
“We don’t know at the moment if our vaccine is also able to provide protection against this new variant,” Ugur Sahin told a news conference the day after the vaccine was approved for use in the European Union. “But scientifically, it is highly likely that the immune response by this vaccine also can deal with the new virus variants.”
Sahin said that the proteins on the UK variant are 99 per cent the same as on the prevailing strains, and therefore BioNTech has “scientific confidence” that its vaccine will be effective.
In the unlikely event that the mutation is resistant to the vaccine: “We could be able to provide a new vaccine, technically, within 6 weeks,” Dr Sahin adds. But whether regulators will approve etc is another matter.
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Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]
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