BioNTech capable of providing a new vaccine “in six weeks” in the event of virus mutation

The German laboratory BioNTech, originally with Pfizer of the first vaccine against Covid-19 authorized in the world, is able to provide a new vaccine “in six weeks” in the event of a mutation of the virus such as that detected in the United Kingdom, has said its co-leader, Ugur Sahin, on Tuesday.

BioNTech

The German laboratory BioNTech, originally with Pfizer of the first vaccine against Covid-19 authorized in the world, is able to provide a new vaccine “in six weeks” in the event of a mutation of the virus such as that detected in the United Kingdom, has its co-leader, Ugur Sahin, said on Tuesday.

“We are technically capable of delivering a new vaccine in six weeks,” he said.

“In principle the beauty of messenger RNA technology is that we can directly start to design a vaccine that completely mimics the new mutation,” he added during a press conference in Mainz (west of Germany) the day after the green light from the European authorities to distribute the vaccine in the EU.

Ugur Sahin nevertheless assured that it was “highly probable” that the current vaccine is effective against the new strain of coronavirus spotted in the United Kingdom, which is more contagious, and which raises fears of an upsurge in Covid-19 cases.

“Scientifically, it is highly probable that the immune response elicited by the vaccine can also manage the new variant of the virus,” added the scientist, co-founder with his wife Özlem Türeci of the BioNTech laboratory.

He justified his optimism by the fact that the vaccine developed with his American partner would be effective because it “contains more than 1,000 amino acids and only nine of them have mutated, which means that 99% of the protein is still the same”.

BioNTech should be able to publish the results of its tests conducted with the new variant of Sars-CoV-2 within two weeks, he said.

Panic in the world

The emergence of a new variant of the coronavirus that appears to be spreading faster in the United Kingdom has caused panic around the world and doubt over the effectiveness of anti-Covid vaccines.

The European drug regulator also assured Monday that there was “no evidence” to say that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would not protect against the new strain of coronavirus.

(with AFP)