New Covid strain: Vaccine developer says it can make new jab in 6 weeks

Berlin - BioNTech says can make mutation-beating vaccine if needed.


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Published: Tue 22 Dec 2020, 1:22 PM

Last updated: Tue 22 Dec 2020, 1:34 PM

The co-founder of BioNTech said Tuesday it was “highly likely” that its Covid-19 vaccine works against the mutated strain detected in Britain, but it could also adapt the vaccine, if necessary, in six weeks.

“Scientifically, it is highly likely that the immune response by this vaccine also can deal with the new virus variant,” said Ugur Sahin.

But if needed, “in principle the beauty of the messenger technology is that we can directly start to engineer a vaccine which completely mimics this new mutation — we could be able to provide a new vaccine technically within six weeks.”

BioNTech’s vaccine, developed together with U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer, is authorized for use in more than 45 countries including Britain, the United States and the European Union.

Countries across the globe shut their borders to Britain on Monday due to fears about the highly infectious new coronavirus strain.

India, Pakistan, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia, Jordan and Hong Kong suspended travel for Britons after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a mutated variant of the virus had been identified in the country.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman closed their borders completely.

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