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BioNTech CEO "confident" vaccine will work against COVID variant found in India

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:20, April 29, 2021

BERLIN, April 28 (Xinhua) -- BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin on Wednesday expressed his confidence in the effectiveness of the vaccine jointly developed by his company and the U.S. pharmaceutical firm Pfizer against the new coronavirus variant first found in India.

Sahin, also co-founder of the German biotechnology company, made the remarks here at a time when a so-called "double mutant" variant of COVID-19 appears to be wreaking havoc in India and sparks public concerns about vaccine efficacy.

The BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine has already been put to test against a total of over 30 COVID-19 variants, according to Sahin.

In almost all cases, the CEO said, the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine worked just as well as in the original COVID-19 form.

The corresponding tests on the new variant, however, were still underway, Sahin added.

The new "B.1.617 variant" has recently been sweeping across India, which has been reporting more than 300,000 new COVID-19 cases each day over the past week.

With two mutations, it is considered by some medical experts as more infectious and transmissible and that the current vaccines may be less effective against it.

Germany's Robert Koch Institute said on Tuesday that the variant, which was under its special observation, has so far only been detected sporadically in Germany.

There was currently a lack of reliable data to classify this variant as "of concern" in the country, added the federal government agency for disease control and prevention.

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