BioNTech could make a vaccine within 6 weeks against the new strain recently discovered in the United Kingdom. The German-based pharma company is confident that its COVID-19 vaccine will work against the new variant. According to Ugur Sahin, the co-founder of BioNTech, the vaccine is highly likely to work against the new strain. The immune response triggered by the vaccine can counter the virus strain. However, not much data is present to prove the effectiveness of the vaccine against the variant.
Sahin also said that the proteins present on the new strain are 99% similar to the existing strains. Hence, the pharma company is confident about its scientific assumptions about its vaccine. However, researchers need about two-week time to provide ample data supporting these assumptions.
The co-founder also said that the company shall roll-out a new vaccine within six weeks if the need be. If their vaccine isn’t effective against the new strain, they are willing to develop a dose to combat the mutated variant. Using ‘messenger technology’, the firm can directly create a vaccine that mimics the new variant. In this way, BioNTech might just be able to roll-out a vaccine within a short period.
BioNTech previously joined hands with Pfizer Inc. to develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus. Their vaccine became one of the first to get approval for use in more than 45 countries including the United States, European Union and Britain.
Moderna is also conducting tests to check whether the vaccine works against the mutated strain, according to a CNN report. Moderna recently spoke that based on the available data, it expects the vaccine-induced immunity to fight against the new variant. Additional tests will be performed to confirm this assumption.
UK recently reported a new COVID-19 variant which is 70% more infectious than the existing strains. Several countries including Italy, South Africa and Australia have reported the cases caused by the strain. Many nations including India have temporarily banned flights to the UK to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.