Pfizer and BioNTech recently announced that a COVID-19 vaccination could be modified and manufactured within 100 days to combat a vaccine escape variant. The World Health Organization recognized the strain in southern Africa and named it B.1.1.529. It is a highly transmissible variant of concern and was labeled with the Greek letter Omicron.
Pfizer sent an email stating that the vaccine-makers remain vigilant and focused on monitoring new variants that could escape our vaccine’s protection.
Pfizer stated that they will follow the science as it examines the best ways to protect people against COVID-19. Pfizer and BioNTech anticipate being able to create and produce a vaccine against any variant within 100 days. Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, has pledged previously that the companies could develop a vaccine within the same timeline.
He states that the data showed that no variant strain of any existing strain has been able to escape the protection offered by our vaccine. He said that he knew of none at the White House in June and that they have a process to develop a vaccine in 100 days if necessary.
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A spokesperson from BioNTech stated that the variant is significantly different from other variants. In the next two weeks, they will have more information from lab tests on whether it is an escape variant or if the vaccine should be adjusted.
BioNTech and Pfizer took actions months ago to ensure that the mRNA vaccine could be modified within 6 weeks, and shipped the first batches within 100 days in case of an escape variant. The companies have started clinical trials with variant vaccines in order to gather safety and tolerability data to be submitted to regulators.
A spokesperson said in an email that they are monitoring new COVID-19 viruses with variants in the spike protein and are testing the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine against this virus.
The delta variant of COVID-19 remains the most widely transmitted and is responsible for more than 99% of sequences shared with the largest public database in the world. Some world leaders are disregarding guidance from the World Health Organization and have made the decision to implement travel restrictions.
As the coronavirus spreads, it evolves. Many new variants of the virus, as well as those with risky mutations can, are often eliminated. Scientists are constantly looking for changes that might make the virus more deadly or transmissible, but it takes time to determine exactly what these dangers could be.
Dr. Anthony Fauci stated that the U.S. is working with scientists in South Africa to determine if the variant could evade the immune response. He explains that a mutation can be used to predict or hint at the possibility that the virus might escape the immune system. He said you will need to obtain the exact sequence of the virus and place it in a lab to test for antibodies. He said the material is being gathered with South African colleagues in order to create a situation in which you could directly test it.
Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Moderna is the leader in vaccine administration with over 264 million and 173 million, respectively.
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