BioNTech: "No evidence" that adapting vaccine to variants is necessary
BioNTech said Monday there is currently "no evidence" to support the need to adapt the company's coronavirus vaccine, developed with Pfizer, to be more effective against emerging variants.
Why it matters: Some health experts fear that contagious new variants could be more resistant against COVID-19 vaccines, prolonging the pandemic for years to come.
- Health officials are still studying preliminary data on new variants, including B.1.617, a variant first detected in India that may be linked to the country's massive surge in cases.
- Slow global COVID-19 vaccination rates are raising concerns that worse variants of the coronavirus could be percolating, ready to rip into the world before herd immunity can diminish their impact, Axios' Eileen Drage O'Reilly reports.
What to watch: BioNTech said that despite the lack of evidence that its vaccine is ineffective against variants, the company "has developed a comprehensive strategy to address these variants should the need arise in the future."
- For example, BioNTech and Pfizer plan to study the effectiveness of a third vaccine dose to prolong immunity against COVID-19 and to protect against variants. The companies say that the FDA has approved their further research plans.
- BioNTech and Pfizer are also currently studying their vaccine's effectiveness in children from 6 months to 11 years old and testing its use for healthy pregnant women.