BioNTech's CEO said there's a 'relatively high' possibility the vaccine they made with Pfizer will protect against the UK's new coronavirus variant
An Ohio State employee receives a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination. AP Photo / Jay LaPrete
Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, whose company is Pfizer's vaccine partner in Europe, told reporters Tuesday that the "likelihood" that their shot would work on the British variant was "relatively high," the Associated Press reported.
Sahin noted that "we don't currently know if our vaccine will protect against this new variant," and it will take up to two weeks to get data from the experiment to determine the vaccine's effectiveness.
Parts of the UK were put on tightened lockdown last weekend after learning that a new variant of the coronavirus could be up to 70% more transmissible.
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The CEO of BioNTech, the German pharmaceutical company that worked with Pfizer to develop the first emergency-approved COVID-19 vaccine, is confident that his shot can deal with the new strain of the coronavirus identified in the UK.
Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, told reporters on Tuesday, "It is very likely that the immune response of this vaccine can also deal with the new virus variants," the Associated Press reported.
Sahin said they are currently doing experiments to confirm this and should see results in the next two weeks.
He added that the "likelihood" that their vaccine would work with the UK variant was "relatively high", according to the AP, as the proteins of the new strain targeted by the vaccine are 99% similar to the other strains .
Read more: How pharmaceutical company Pfizer partnered with a little-known biotechnology to develop the first approved coronavirus vaccine in record time
Parts of the UK were tightened on Sunday after learning that the new strain could be up to 70% more transmissible, Business Insider's Joshua Zitser reported. Since then, several countries including Denmark, Ireland, Belgium and Israel have restricted incoming travel from the UK.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the FDA, said Monday that he believed the new variant was "already in the US," so a travel ban against the UK would not be effective. Dr. Anthony Fauci agreed that the new tribe was likely already in the US.
The emergence of the new strain underscores what experts have been saying for months - we probably need to get COVID-19 vaccines annually, just as we get different flu shots each year to combat new strains as they emerge.
As Dr. Business Insider's Catherine Schuster-Bruce reported that medical experts have said the coronavirus vaccines will likely work against the new variants.
"We have no particular reason to believe that immunization with the present vaccines will be less effective against the various variants in circulation," a professor of pediatrics at Bristol University said Monday.
Meanwhile, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are rolling out the first vaccines in the US after the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency approval this month.
A new variant of the coronavirus has triggered panic and travel bans - but experts say COVID-19 vaccines should continue to work against it. Here's why.
Ex-FDA chief believes the new coronavirus strain is "already in the US" and a travel ban for the UK won't make any difference
Internal emails show that the UK government is actively looking for conspiracy theorists who say the new coronavirus strain is "artificial".
Tighter lockdown measures could be put in place across England as the mutant strain of coronavirus is now "everywhere".
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