BioNTech works on its answer to new Covid variant — Analysis

BioNTech in Germany has stated that they have begun work on an improved vaccine against the Omicron form of Covid-19. It has some significant mutations, and could be used to replace current jabs.

BioNTech released a statement Monday stating that while it is not certain if the company will need to distribute an amended version of its Covid-19 vaccine in order to defend against Omicron, however, the company has already begun to develop its shot against this mutant strain.  

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Omicron: What we know about the new Covid variant

“The first steps of developing a potential new vaccine overlap with the research necessary in order to evaluate whether a new shot will be needed,”According to Reuters, the company stated that. According to Reuters, the biotech firm stated that creating adapted vaccines was part of standard procedures for developing new varieties. 

BioNTech said Friday that they expect more lab data over the next weeks. They will use this information to decide if an Omicron vaccine is necessary. 

Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, spoke to CNBC on Monday. He said that Pfizer, who developed the vaccine with BioNTech had created a new model in creating a vaccine for Omicron. 

Bourla stated that Pfizer can make almost four billion of the drug next year. 

Moderna, which also makes an mRNA vaccine, said it had also started a redesign of its Covid-19 shot as the Omicron variant spreads – although its CEO, Stéphane Bancel, told CNBC it could take months to start shipping a new vaccine.

Omicron was identified in Botswana on Monday. It has since been reported that other countries are now concerned about the possibility of a deadly new wave of infections. Israel, Japan and Morocco recently closed their borders to all foreigners. 

Omicron, according to research from the Bambino Gesu Hospital Rome, has 43 spike proteins mutations. That’s more than 18 that are found in the Delta strain. Researchers believe the mutations may allow Omicron to escape vaccine-induced immunity or that acquired from previous infection.

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