Confident the Vaccine Will Work on New UK Variant: BioNTech CEO

"Scientifically, it is highly likely that the immune response by this vaccine also can deal with the new variants.”

Nurse Sandra Lindsay receives the first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in New York on Monday, December 14, 2020, from Dr Michelle Chester.

Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is already being rolled out in the United Kingdom. With fears around a new variant of the coronavirus in the UK that may possibly be more transmissible, questions have been raised if the vaccine programme will be impacted.

German pharmaceutical company BioNTech CEO says they are confident that its coronavirus vaccine works against the new UK variant. But more studies are needed to study the variant and its impact on the vaccine to be doubly sure.

In a news conference, Ugur Sahin, BioNTech CEO said, “We don’t know at the moment if our vaccine is also able to provide protection against this new variant. But scientifically, it is highly likely that the immune response by this vaccine also can deal with the new virus variants.”

Pfizer and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine has been approved for emergency use in the European Union, a few weeks after its approval in the UK and US.

"The proteins on the UK variant are 99% the same as on the prevailing strains, and therefore BioNTech has “scientific confidence” that its vaccine will be effective."

But Sagin also said that they will require 2 weeks of experiments to get new data to confirm this.

The vaccine is authorised for use across 45 countries.

Vaccines produce a broad antibody response to the virus, and experts have said there is a high possibility that these vaccines will work on most mutations.

The novel coronavirus is a single strand RNA virus, and mutations are a normal rather than an exception in such viruses, virologists have previously told FIT.

Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines, and an update of these vaccines to new variations will be far quicker than in live virus or inactivated vaccines.

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