BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin told CNBC on Thursday he was “confident” that the company is using the Covid-19 vaccine US partner Pfizer is effective against a variant of coronavirus that was first identified in India.
The trunk, known as B.1.617, contains two key mutations which were found separately in other coronavirus variants. The variant, also known as “double mutant”, was first discovered in IndiaWhere it is viewed by some as the cause of a recent surge in new Covid-19 cases.
The variant has since been identified in other countries, including the United States.
Sahin said the German drug maker had tested its two-dose vaccine, currently not available in India, against similar “double mutants”. Based on that data, Sahin said he feels confident the shot will still be protective.
“We evaluate [the strain] … and the data will be available in the coming weeks, “he told CNBC.
“However, we had similar double mutants in our previous tests and are confident from the data we had in the past that we could see a similar way of neutralizing this virus. But we will only know when we have the data. ” in our hands, “he added.
In recent months, US health officials have said they fear that new, highly contagious variants of the virus may one day be able to evade the protection of currently approved vaccines. They urge Americans to get vaccinated as soon as possible before new and potentially more dangerous variants emerge.
Studies have shown that the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine still protects against other strains. including B.1.526, the variant first identified in New Yorkand B.1.1.7, the variant found in Great Britain.
An Israeli study found that B.1.351, the variant discovered in South Africa, was able to bypass part of the protection of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, although the shot remained highly effective.
Although the shot continues to be effective, Sahin said people will likely need a third shot of his two-dose Covid-19 vaccine as immunity to the virus wears off. Consent to previous comments prepared by Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla and BioNTech Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ozlem Tureci.
In February, Pfizer and BioNTech said They tested a third Dose of their Covid-19 vaccine to better understand the immune response to new variants of the virus.
Sahin said Thursday that researchers are seeing a decrease in antibody responses to the virus after eight months.
“If we give a boost, we could actually increase the antibody response beyond what we had at the beginning, and that could give us a real comfort of protection for at least 12 months, maybe 18 months,” he said.