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BioNTech starts work on adapting vaccine against Omicron variant after confirmation of cases

BioNTech starts work on adapting vaccine against Omicron variant after

Comprehensive measures are being taken around the world to fight the latest variant of the COVID-19 virus, and BioNTech has already begun developing a new vaccine aimed at acting on Omicron, as announced this Monday.

The German biotechnology company, which is partnering with US giant Pfizer for vaccines against COVID-19, told Insider that it had begun "developing a customized vaccine" for Omicron to allow it to "progress rapidly".

Scientists and health officials around the world are closely following Omicron, or B.1.1.529, which was first discovered in South Africa. Public health experts say the new variant contains signs that it is more contagious or dangerous than other types of the disease.

Today it was reported that the newest COVID-19 mutation has also reached Italy, where a "zero" patient has infected the whole family.

The World Health Organization labeled Omicron a "disturbing variant" on Friday, though officials have said relatively little is known about the variant at this stage.

Moderna, which also manufactures a COVID-19 vaccine, said on Sunday that it expects to have a new version of its vaccine available by early 2022 and that it needs to know if its current vaccine has sufficient protection in the next two weeks.

A BioNTech spokesman said: "We understand the concern of the experts and have immediately launched investigations into the omicron variant (B.1.1.529) as well as the development of a customized vaccine as part of our standard procedure for the new variants."

They added that "the first steps in developing a possible new vaccine overlap with the research needed to assess whether a new vaccine will be needed. The objective of this approach, which was initiated last Thursday, is to move forward. fast forward if a specific vaccine for a variant is needed ”.

"We are waiting for data from laboratory tests for about two weeks. This data will provide more information if B.1.1.529 may be a rescue variant that may require an adjustment of our vaccine if the variant spreads globally," he added. BioNTech spokesman.

The company told Bloomberg it was developing an updated vaccine as well as testing its existing vaccine "so as not to waste time".

BioNTech said Friday it will be able to ship new versions of its COVID-19 vaccine within 100 days if a new variant appears.