According to BioNTech, the Covid vaccine developed in partnership with Pfizer is effective against the key new strains discovered in the UK and South Africa.
Dr. Ugur Sahin, the co-founder, and CEO of BioNTech, said in a statement they are confident based on the mechanism of their vaccine, even though there are mutations, they believe that the immune response which induced by their vaccine could also deal with a mutated virus.
This mutation could change structurally the protein, therefore, this mutation is considered essential. But it appears the immune response against the vaccine neutralized this mutation.
The CEO’s comments referred to the study that was published showed Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine appears to be effective against key new strains that were discovered in the UK and South Africa. The study was conducted by Pfizer and not yet peer-reviewed, suggesting the vaccine worked to neutralise the so-called N501Y mutation.
The variants, which originated separately, both share a genetic mutation of the so-called spike protein, which the virus uses to gain entry into cells within the body. Physicians tentatively welcomed the findings of the study but cautioned it was important to note the research only focused on the N501Y mutation found in both new variants.
The company will publish more data looking at the full set of mutations in the future.
According to public health experts, they are concerned the new mutant strains could pose a threat to inoculation efforts. In recent weeks, optimism about the mass rollout of Covid vaccines has been tempered by the resurgent rate of virus spread worldwide.
To date, more than 90.3 million people have contracted the coronavirus worldwide, with 1.93 million deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.