BioNTech confident vaccine can beat new mutation

BioNTech said on Tuesday (December 22) the COVID-19 vaccine it developed with Pfizer should still be effective against the newly discovered variant of the virus circulating in the UK.

Chief Executive Ugur Sahin said the company is testing whether the vaccine works to protect against the mutation and expects results in the next two weeks.

“It has nine mutations, not only a single mutation and we don't know at the moment if our vaccine is also able to provide protection against this new variant. But scientifically, it is highly likely that immune response by this vaccine also can deal with the new virus variant."

Sahin confirmed more vaccine results about asymptomatic transmission are also on the way.

"We expect that end of January or in February we will be able to update and provide information that the vaccine is able to prevent asymptomatic infection."

BioNTech is preparing to send 12.5 million doses to EU countries by the end of year, after approval from Brussels on Monday (December 21).

This week, countries across the globe shut their borders to Britain, causing travel chaos and raising the prospect of food shortages.

The World Health Organization has also cautioned against major alarm from the variant, saying this was a normal part of a pandemic's evolution.