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Further studies will be needed to ensure Covid vaccine works against new Covid variant found in United Kingdom

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BioNTech chief executive, Ugur Sahin, the boss of BioNTech said further studies are needed to be completely sure the Covid-19 vaccine works against the new variant found in the United Kingdom. He noted, however, that he was “confident” the injection developed with Pfizer will work against the new Covid variant.

Currently, the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is being rolled out across the United Kingdom.

A rapid increase in coronavirus cases in the UK has been attributed to the Covid-19 variant initially identified in September.

Countries, worldwide have responded by closing their borders to the United Kingdom, with travel and the transport of freight halted with some nations including France.

On Tuesday, BioNTech chief executive Ugur Sahin said: “We don’t know at the moment if our vaccine is also able to provide protection against this new variant.”
However, he said because the proteins on the variant are 99% the same as the existing strain of the virus, BioNTech has “scientific confidence” in the vaccine.

Mr Sahin said the pharmaceutical giant ‘hoped’ to have certainty within two weeks, “The likelihood that our vaccine works … is relatively high,” he added.

Should the vaccine need to be adjusted for the new variant, the company could do so in about six weeks Mr Sahin said.

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