BioNTech boss: Pfizer vaccine likely to be effective against Indian variant

21 May 2021, 15:52

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is effective against 30 variants
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is effective against 30 variants. Picture: PA

By Emma Soteriou

The Pfizer vaccine is likely to be effective against the Indian variant of Coronavirus, the chief executive of BioNTech has said.

Ugur Sahin said he was encouraged by findings in a recent scientific paper, based on a blood analysis of vaccinated individuals.

The study found that, although samples of the Indian variant were more resistant than other strains, the antibodies would still "neutralise" the virus.

The Pfizer vaccine was previously proven to be 75 per cent effective against the South African variant of the virus, and Mr Sahin believe it "might be in the same range" for the Indian variant.

He said: "So far we've had the chance to test our vaccine against more than 30 variants of the virus. It has proven effective against mutations so far."

The Indian variant has spread to 50 countries and was confirmed as a 'variant of concern' by the World Health Organisation.

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This comes after it was ruled that the Pfizer vaccine could be stored in a fridge for up to a month by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Chief Executive of the MHRA, Dr June Raine, said: "Up until now, the Pfizer vaccine had to be administered within five days of being removed from ultra-low temperature freezers.

"Now that the jab can be stored at normal fridge temperatures for up to 31 days, it can be used in a wider range of healthcare settings, giving patients greater access to the Pfizer vaccine."

The "rigorously assessed" data warranted the change, after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) made a similar decision earlier in the week.

The MHRA added that flexibility in storage of the vaccine would also have a "significant impact" on rolling it out to other EU countries.