The Chief Executive of German pharmaceutical company BioNTech says the company is confident its COVID-19 vaccine works against the new UK variant, adding, however, that further studies are needed to be completely sure.
Detected mainly in London and the southeast of England, the new COVID-19 variant has been a cause for concern across the globe because of indications that it may spread more easily.
While so far there has been no indication that the new variant causes increased mortality, several countries in Europe have restricted travel from the UK as a result, Malta included.
The BioNTech chief, Ugar Sahin, said at a press conference that “the likelihood that our vaccine works…is relatively high”.
On Wednesday, the day after the EU approved use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin told a news conference:
“We don’t know at the moment if our vaccine is also able to provide protection against this new variant….But, scientifically, it is highly likely that the immune response by this vaccine also can deal with the new virus variants.”
Mr Sahin said the proteins on the UK variant are 99 per cent the same as the prevailing strains, and therefore BioNTech has “scientific confidence” that its vaccine will be effective.
He added that the company will know only if the experiment is done, which will need about two weeks from not to get the data.
Malta will start to roll out Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines from this Sunday, after the EU approved its use.
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