‘Don’t freak out’ about Omicron, says BioNTech CEO

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In an interview with the WSJ, Ugur Sahin, head of BioNTech, said that while Omicron can infect more vaccinated people, they will be protected from serious disease.

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The CEO of COVID-19 vaccine maker BioNTech has a message for those who are concerned about the Omicron version of the coronavirus: Keep yourself calm.


In an interview with The Wall Street Journal (paywall) On Tuesday, Ugur Sahin, who co-founded BioNTech and invented one of the first COVID-19 vaccines, said people vaccinated over the Omicron variant could become infected, potentially causing serious illness. will be estimated.

“Our message is: don’t panic, the plan remains the same: expedite the administration of the third booster shot,” he told the WSJ.

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Sahin said the BioNTech mRNA jab, which he and his team of researchers invented in January 2020, and then developed in collaboration with United States pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, has already proven that it Vaccinating people who can protect against serious illness from other types of the virus. has contracted.

They noted that while Omicron would be able to evade antibodies generated by vaccines better than Delta, due to the high number of mutations in the new variant, it is unlikely that Omicron would be able to transmit the body’s T-cell immune response to infection. Will happen.

“Our Faith” [that the vaccines work against Omicron] The science lies in this: if a virus evades immunity, it elicits antibodies against it, but there is another level of immune response that protects against severe disease—T-cells,” he told the WSJ.

The interview with the head of BioNtech follows comments made by Moderna CEO Stefan Bansel on Tuesday. In an interview with the Financial Times (paywall), Bansal warned that current COVID-19 jabs would be of little effect against O’Microon.

“There is no world, I think, where [the effectiveness] Same level… we had with Delta,” he said.

“I think it will be a physical drop. I just don’t know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I’ve talked to are like ‘It’s not going to be good’ “

Bansel’s remarks caused a stir in European and Asian markets, sending stock and oil prices lower.

In his interview with the WSJ, Sahin said it would take about 100 days to bring an adjusted, Omicron-targeted jab to market, but that may not be necessary.

“We have a plan to give people a third shot, and we must stick to that plan and accelerate it,” he told the WSJ. “Whether or not we will need additional protection by an adapted vaccine remains to be seen later.”


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