By Matthew Roscoe • 21 December 2021 • 13:49
"Even triple-vaccinated are likely to transmit the virus" according to BioNTech CEO. Credit: Twitter
BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin stated that “we must be aware that even triple-vaccinated are likely to transmit the virus,” when asked about current vaccines versus the new Omicron Covid variant in an interview published on Monday, December 20.
“It is obvious we are far from 95 per cent effectiveness that we obtained against the initial virus,” warned the CEO of BioNTech.
However, speaking to French daily Le Monde, the 56-year-old said he remains confident because “real-life data from Great Britain and South Africa provide us with reassuring information”.
Sahin is referring to reports that two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine offered 70 per cent effectiveness in reducing the risk of hospitalisation.
“There will be a loss of effectiveness against Omicron over time, it’s very likely, but it’s still to be measured how quickly. I will not base predictions on preliminary laboratory data but on real-life data, which is much more appropriate,” said the CEO of the German company behind the mRNA vaccine produced with Pfizer.
“Preliminary data from the UK pointed to an efficacy of around 70 per cent after the third dose and around 20 per cent to 40 per cent after the second dose,” Sahin said, citing a new study published after the interview by Imperial College London.
Ugur Sahin also said: “South Africans make similar observations. Their data also shows that the protection against severe forms after two doses would be 70 per cent, which I think might be a bit underestimated.
“The rate of primary infection is high in South Africa, so the control group, the one to which our vaccine is compared, is undoubtedly better protected than a conventional population. So I’m waiting for the next real-life UK data on the subject,” he concluded.
This news comes after Pfizer and BioNTech revealed on December 8 that a third dose of its vaccine protects against the COVID Omicron variant – giving as much protection against Omicron as two doses do against the original variant.
The German company is already designing a coronavirus vaccine adapted to the new variant which should be ready for March 2020.
“We remain on track with our 100-day target, which means we should be able to deliver our first suitable vaccines to Omicron in March, subject to regulatory approval,” he said.
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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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