The CEO of the German pharmaceutical company BioNTech said he remains confident in the Covid vaccine developed in cooperation with Pfizer, which will deal with highly infectious virus variants found in the UK and South Africa.
Co-founder Dr. Ugur Sahin said: “We believe that based on our vaccine mechanism, even if there are mutations, we believe that the immune response induced by our vaccine can deal with (a) mutant viruses.” CEO and Chief Executive Officer of BioNTech The official told CNBC̵
“Last week, we reported on another mutation that exists in both the British variant and the South African variant. This mutation is considered important because it can change the structure of the protein. But it seems that the immune response to our vaccine can also be neutralized. And this mutation. Mutation.”
His comments referred to research published on Thursday, which showed that Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine appears to be effective against key mutations in the more infectious virus variants found in the UK and South Africa.
The study conducted by the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has not been peer-reviewed, and the vaccine shows that the vaccine can neutralize the so-called N501Y mutation. This mutation has been reported in variants of coronaviruses found in the United Kingdom and South Africa.
The variants of the respective origins all share the so-called spike protein gene mutation, which the virus uses to enter human cells.
The physicians temporarily welcomed the results of the study last week, but warned that it is important to note that the study only focused on the N501Y mutation found in two new variants.
BioNTech’s Sahin said the company will be able to provide more data in the coming days to see the full set of mutations.
The new vaccine may be ready in “six weeks”
Like Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid vaccine also uses messenger RNA or mRNA technology. In practice, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that this “teaches our cells how to make a protein, or even just a protein, to trigger an immune response in our body.”
The resulting immune response produces antibodies that help protect people from viral infections.
Ugur Sahin, the co-founder and CEO of Biontech, stands at the company’s location. Biontech is a biotechnology company that is currently working on a vaccine against the coronavirus. (Photo courtesy of Andreas Arnold/Photo Union via Getty Images)
Andreas Arnold | Photo Alliance via Getty Images
When asked how BioNTech will develop rapidly if the existing Covid vaccine is found to be ineffective against new variants, Sahin said that the “main advantage” of mRNA technology is that it will allow the company to adapt to the vaccine “relatively quickly.” “
He said: “We can change the order of vaccines within a few days. In principle, we can deliver new vaccines within six weeks. This is technically feasible, and we will continue to do so if necessary.” He said, noting that Need to discuss with regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration.
Sahin said: “Therefore, we are confident that we will enable our technology to respond extremely quickly to mutations or virus variants with different problems.”
Public health experts expressed concern that the new mutant strain may pose a threat to vaccination efforts. In recent weeks, optimism about the large-scale promotion of the Covid vaccine has been weakened by the recovery speed of the global virus spread.
According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, so far, 90.3 million people worldwide have been infected with the coronavirus and 1.93 million have died.