Triple vaccinated could still transmit Covid, says BioNTech CEO

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Ugur Sahin confirms that the efficacy of the vaccine could rapidly decline in the face of the Omicron variant but still prefer to wait and rely on “real-life data”.

Faced with the surge in Covid cases – 17 linked to the variant Omicron, much of the world is alarmed. In France, the government is pushing for vaccination, in particular the vaccine booster. A necessity for the CEO of BioNTech, the co-founder of the laboratory with Pfizer, questioned by The world . At first, Ugur Sahin wants to be reassuring about the effectiveness of the group’s vaccine. Two studies carried out in South Africa and the United Kingdom confirm an effectiveness “of approximately 64% “against severe forms after the third dose. An essential boost against Omicron, because a person who would have only two doses would only be protected up to 19% as explained a study by Imperial College of London which Capital echoed on Saturday. “South Africans make similar observations. Their data also shows that protection against severe forms after two doses would be 64%, which I think could be underestimated, ”Ugur Sahin explains in Le Monde.

>> Also read – Vaccine deliveries accelerate in the EU against the Omicron variant

A new vaccine in March?

On the other hand, one thing seems certain, and this is the reason why the boratoire is working on another vaccine: it would quickly lose its effectiveness against Omicron. If its effectiveness could fall to 20% after three months according to some specialists, for Ugur Sahin, the loss of efficiency “is very likely” but he prefers to wait and rely on on “real life data”. But like the declarations European Diseases Agency , the CEO of BioNTech says: “The vaccine will not stop the pandemic on its own.” With the Omicron variant, the situation has changed: “Even triples vaccinated are likely to transmit the disease.” He insisted on the need for tests in the entourage of vulnerable people. Without this, “we will not be able to control the rapid expansion of this new variant,” he warns. Will a new vaccine see the day ? Pfizer / BioNTech has already embarked on this using Omicron’s Spike protein and its 31 mutations as antigen, detail our colleagues. The fact that this is a messenger RNA vaccine should lead to rapid results. If the regulators approve it, “we should be able to deliver our first vaccines adapted to Omicron in March”, loose Ugur Sahin. The company is pursuing in parallel other studies on other vaccines, but remains convinced that the Spike protein is “essential”. >> To read also – Anti-Covid pill – 17: Pfizer’s drug approved for emergency use

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