BioNTech and Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine will likely offer protection against any serious Ômicron variant disease, BioNTech’s chief executive told Reuters.
The statement was given while the company assesses the need to update its vaccine.
Laboratory tests are ongoing and it is expected that in the next two weeks they will have results to see if changes will be necessary.
“We think it’s likely that people will have substantial protection against serious illnesses caused by Ômicron,” said BioNTech CEO and co-founder Ugur Sahin.
As serious, he considered when Covid-19 requires hospital admission or intensive care.
Sahin, however, believes that vaccines may not have the same protection against mild and moderate versions of Covid-19 caused by Ômicron. He also said that booster doses could also help prevent severe cases of Ômicron.
“For me, there is no reason to be particularly concerned. The only thing that worries me at the moment is the fact that there are people who have not been vaccinated,” he added.
Sahin said the antibodies produced by the vaccination may have difficulty fighting the new strain of the virus, but the T cells were designed to recognize the micron spike proteins, which remain unchanged.
While antibodies bind to viruses directly and prevent infections, long-lived T cells attack cells that have already been sequestered by the virus, preventing viral replication and serious illness.
Sahin said he still expects a market launch of the updated vaccine, with an initial batch of 25-50 million doses, to take about 100 days, as long as regulators approve.
* With information from Reuters
Reference: CNN Brasil