Founder of Covid-19 BioNTech vaccine says vaccine will be effective against new mutant virus

22nd Dec 2020
Founder of Covid-19 BioNTech vaccine says vaccine will be effective against new mutant virus

MAINZ, GERMANY, (AA): (DECEMBER 21, 2020)

Anadolu Agency interviewed founder of German biotechnology company, BioNTech, Ugur Sahin, on whether their vaccine will be effective against the new variant of Covid-19 first found in Kent, England, on 21 December. He said his company’s Covid-19 vaccine co-developed by Pfizer will be effective against the new mutant.

Nervtag, the infectious disease committee advising the UK Government, believes the new Covid-19 mutant may be 70 per cent better at transmitting the infection.

According to Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, said the mutant strain did not appear to cause higher death rates or be any more resistant to Covid-19 vaccines but was up to 70 percent more infectious.

To find out more about whether the Covid-19 vaccine would be able to work against the new mutant, Anadolu Agency interviewed via Zoom, the founder of the vaccine, Ugur Sahin on 21 December.

Following is the transcript of the interview:

AA: “Will Covid-19 vaccines work against new coronavirus mutant?” This has been raised in recent days across the World after the emergence of a new coronavirus strain in the UK.

Sahin said that they believe that his company’s Covid-19 vaccine co-developed with Pfizer will be effective against the mutant virus.

“We are not anxious that our vaccine will not work,” said Sahin.

He said, “This not the first mutated virus. There have been various mutations before. We’ve checked all of those past mutations and we don’t consider it as a problem.”

Sahin said there is not much information about the new variant of coronavirus which is said to be more infectious as no scientific paper has been published on the subject yet.

Sahin emphasized that one percent of the genetic code of the virus has changed but 99 percent remains the same.

“99 percent of the vaccine is enough for effectiveness. Because our vaccine is effective in a wide variety of positions,” he added.

The BioNTech Chief Executive said his company will investigate the UK mutation in the coming days.

The coronavirus strain has caused Covid-19 cases to rise in the UK, forcing the British government to impose the toughest measures in some parts of the country.

The country entered the Tier-4 lockdown in London and South East England, very similar to a full lockdown — for millions of people after saying the new variant has caused a big rise in infection..

Many countries closed their borders to the UK after Prime Minister announced the news of a more infectious coronavirus mutant.

Reporting by Cuneyt Karadag,Erbil Basay

Writing by Sibel Uygun

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: Ugur Sahin. Photo by BioNTech/AA]

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