According to scientists, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, like other viruses that have RNA as genetic material, tends to mutate constantly. As a result, many variants of SARS-CoV-2 have emerged in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some variants of SARS-CoV-2 have shown increased transferability, with the World Health Organization (WHO) calling them “Variants of concern (VOCs)”. These variants are Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), Delta (B.1.617.2) and Gamma (P.1) originating in Great Britain, South Africa, India and Brazil, respectively.
Virulent variants, of course, but which can have a fast-acting vaccine against them. According to BioNTech, the German biotechnology company partner of the American company Pfizers in the manufacture of vaccines against the coronavirus, a vaccine could be available in 100 days “if it is really necessary”.
BioNTech-Pfizer ready to counteract the variants
In a recent interview with a French business press, two of the biotech company’s founders assured that the development of an effective vaccine against the most widely used variants, including the Delta variant, was being prepared. According to the doctors, the German Uğur ahin and the Turkish Özlem Türeci, the founders of BioNTech, the development of such a vaccine was just a matter of genetic manipulation. In addition, updated and improved vaccines were in preparation and clinical trials are planned for next August.
But “if it is really necessary,” said Şahin’s wife Özlem Türeci, the company has planned a “best practice” that could result in an immediately viable vaccine in “100 days”. All that remains, of course, is the approval and dismissal of the world health authorities. Last Thursday, BioNTech-Pfizer officially announced that it had developed a vaccine against the Delta variant. This variant has spread in 98 countries.
It was first identified in India and is believed to be about 60% more contagious than Alpha, the version of the virus that devastated the UK and much of Europe earlier this year, and potentially twice as contagious as the original coronavirus. In addition, studies have found that the Delta variant is “barely sensitive” to a dose of vaccine, confirming previous research suggesting that the variant may partially escape the immune system.