The European Union (EU) has finally approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech in collaboration with Pfizer. The vaccine was already approved by the United States and Britain weeks ago but that is not the confidence that the co-founder of BioNTech, Ugur Sahin, needs in his vaccine.
He believes that their vaccine will be effective against the different mutations of the coronavirus and if needed it can be adapted for the mutations within six weeks. He said, “Scientifically, it is highly likely that the immune response by this vaccine also can deal with the new virus variant. In principle the beauty of the messenger technology is that we can directly start to engineer a vaccine which completely mimics this new mutation — we could be able to provide a new vaccine technically within six weeks.”
He mentioned that the vaccine contains more than 1,000 amino acids and only nine of them have changed in the different variations of the coronavirus. This means that 99 percent of the protein is still the same and can be targeted by the vaccine.
The variant detected in Britain has 9 mutations instead of just one that is usually common which means that the viruses are becoming more and more efficient at evolving and it may not be as easy to get rid of them.
Image Source: Helmholtz