German pharmaceutical company BioNTech has “scientific confidence” that its coronavirus vaccine will work against the new British variant, but further studies must be absolutely certain, its CEO Ugur Sahin said on Tuesday.
“We don’t currently know whether our vaccine can also protect against this new variant,” said Sahin at a press conference, adding, “scientifically speaking, it is very likely that the immune response of this vaccine can also deal with it.” the new virus variants. “
The new variant was mainly discovered in London and, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is said to have its origin in the south-east of England. According to Chris Whitty, the country’s chief medical officer, the variant contains 23 changes, including 17 major “non-synonymous” mutations. His appearance has sparked fears around the world. Scientists estimate that it could spread up to 70% more effectively than others.
Sahin also said it will take about to weeks to get data on the vaccine’s effectiveness against the new variant. If a new vaccine is needed, the company could have it “technically within six weeks”.
His comments came a day after the EU Medicines Watchdog, the European Medicines Agency (EMA). green light The COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by US drug maker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, which was also officially approved by the European Commission later that day.