Sir John Bell, a professor at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, told CNBC on Wednesday that he is confident that the Covid-19 vaccine can be modified to provide effective protection against future coronavirus mutations.
Bell’s comment on “Closed Bell” appeared because the focus of global attention was on a virus that spread widely in the UK, which may spread more easily than previous variants. It has since been detected in Colorado and California.
Bell said that he cooperated with AstraZeneca to oversee Oxford̵
Bell said that research is underway to formally determine whether the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can resist the new virus strain. “We think they might be able to, but we just want to be absolutely sure.”
“Given the disease level of the new version in the UK… we will have many examples of people who have been vaccinated exposed to the virus, and we will be able to quickly tell whether the vaccine can indeed resist this strain.”
In addition to the variant of the coronavirus discovered in the UK, another virus first discovered in South Africa has also become the focus of attention. Officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that it may also spread in the United States.
Bell told CNBC that he believes that the variants found in South Africa have the ability to make mutations “slightly worrying” than the strains circulating in the UK. However, Bell expressed confidence in how scientists would respond to any viral mutations that could evade the protection provided by existing vaccines.
Bell said: “If we have to make new vaccines, then we have completed the initial work and can make them now. I am sure that our friends who use RNA vaccines can do the same.” Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines use messenger RNA Technology developed, messenger RNA technology is a new method of using genetic material to stimulate an immune response. Oxford-AstraZeneca’s viral vector vaccine uses a weakened version of the common cold virus, which can cause chimpanzee infection.
Bell added: “If we need to make another vaccine to get close to it, we are ready.” He also pointed out that the development process of updated vaccines may not require large-scale clinical trials this year, but only immunization. The original research to ensure that it triggers an immune response is enough.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration on Pfizer’s board, said viral mutations are not uncommon. He told CNBC earlier this month: “Certain viruses such as influenza release their surface proteins very quickly, which is why we need different flu vaccines every season.”
Gottlieb then said that he also believes that the existing vaccine will provide protection against the virus strains circulating in the UK, because this vaccine targets the entire spike protein of the coronavirus.
He said: “We are developing antibodies against many different regions of the protein, so even if part of the protein is mutated and some antibodies no longer recognize it, there will be antibodies against other parts of the protein.” “So this It may not easily flow through our vaccine, but eventually we will have to update the vaccine.”
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and a board member of Pfizer Inc., genetic testing startup Tempus, and biotechnology company Illumina. Gottlieb also serves as the co-chair of the Norwegian Cruise Line Holding Company and the Royal Caribbean “Healthy Navigation Group”.