Pfizer jab likely to be effective against Indian variant of Covid, says BioNTech boss

By Helen Johnson
Friday, 21st May 2021, 10:45 am
The Pfizer Covid vaccine is likely to be effective against the Indian variant, BioNTech boss has said (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Pfizer Covid vaccine is likely to be effective against the Indian variant, BioNTech boss has said.

BioNTech’s chief executive, Ugur Sahin, said recent findings in a scientific study were encouraging regarding the effectiveness of the vaccine it developed with Pfizer against the Indian Covid variant.

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‘It has proven effective against mutations so far’

The BioNTech boss has said the Pfizer vaccine is likely to be as effective against the Indian variant of Covid as it is against the South African strain, with the jab currently around 75 per cent effective against the variant of the coronavirus first found in South Africa.

There are now more than 3,000 cases of the Indian variant - also known as B.1617.2 - nationwide, with surge testing in place in areas where it has been found.

Mr Sahin said that the study preview - which appeared in bioRxiv - showed the antibodies triggered in the body by the Pfizer vaccine were able to fight the Covid strain first identified in India.

The study also found that although samples of the Indian variant were more resistant than previous strains, the antibodies triggered by the vaccine would still "neutralise" the virus.

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."

This comes as the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) medicine regulator approved new storage conditions for the Pfizer vaccine.

The jab can now be stored in fridges for 31 days after thawing, which is up from just five days.

Dr June Raine, MHRA chief executive, said: "We are pleased to confirm that, having rigorously assessed the additional data submitted to us by the company, we have now approved more flexible storage conditions for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine."

She added: "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."