BioNTech CEO says omicron-specific vaccine delayed

Associated Press/Mary Altaffer

Pfizer-BioNTech has announced that the omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccine it has in development could be delayed by several weeks because of the unpredicted amount of time it is taking the company to gather data, Reuters reports

BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin told a German news outlet Thursday of the company’s delay in the variant-altered vaccine manufacturing and also explained that once the vaccine was produced, the company would assess if the omicron-specific vaccines were still needed, Reuters reports.

“If the wave ends, that does not mean it can’t begin again,” Sahin said while speaking to the German publication.

A number of omicron infection waves across the world have leveled out or dropped significantly in recent weeks.

Sahin also explained that BioNTech would be prepared to create modified vaccines, if needed, if new COVID-19 variants of concern emerge in the future, Reuters reports.

Sahin also added, “I really don’t see the situation as dramatic anymore,” referring to how COVID-19 will unfold going forward, as per Reuters.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in January that the omicron-specific vaccines were expected to be ready to go by next month.

Pfizer-BioNTech began their human trials on the omicron-specific vaccine on 1,420 people late last month. The trial is looking at people who have had different numbers of vaccines ranging from none at all, to those who were up-to-date on their shots and have been boosted as well. 

“Vaccines continue to offer strong protection against severe disease caused by omicron. Yet, emerging data indicate vaccine-induced protection against infection and mild to moderate disease wanes more rapidly than was observed with prior strains,” Sahin said in a statement in late January.

In December, Bourla also stated that a fourth, or second booster, COVID-19 dose may eventually be needed one year following the third, or booster, dose.

Tags BioNTech BioNTech Clinical trials Health sciences omicron Pfizer Pfizer–BioNTech Ugur Sahin Vaccines Variant

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