Covid vaccine can be modified to protect against another strain, expert says

9 November 2020, 21:32 | Updated: 9 November 2020, 21:36

Pfizer vaccine can be modified to protect against another Covid strain, expert says

By Sam Sholli

This is the moment an expert told LBC that a Covid vaccine could be modified in the future to allow for better protection against another strain of the virus.

Professor Gordon Dougan, an expert on vaccines from the University of Cambridge, tackled issue while speaking to Iain Dale.

The exchange not only follows the idenitification of a new strain of coronavirus last week in Denmark, but also a breakthrough being made in the the first coronavirus vaccine after initial studies showed it can prevent 90% of people contracting the virus.

Professor Dougan told LBC: "Will the vaccine protect against all strains of the virus? At the moment, we don't know....But what can happen, for example, is you could always modify the vaccine at some stage to include a second variant of the virus and that's relatively common.

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"For example, the polio vaccine contains three different types of virus to cover the whole range of different viruses out there."

He also said: "Essentially for, for example, the flu vaccine, we have to change it every year because the cause of the disease varies. But it varies a lot more than the SARS 2 Covid virus does.

"But the Covid virus does vary so we have to be vigilant about this."

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The developers, Pfizer and BioNTech, plan to apply for emergency approval so the drug can start to be used by the end of the month after no safety issues were raised.

Boris Johnson has said that the UK is "front of the pack" for the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine if it proves a success.