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BioNTech says ‘no evidence’ it needs to change its Covid-19 jab formula despite new mutation variants

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German pharmaceutical firm BioNTech has said there is no need to change its Covid-19 vaccine despite the increasing prevalence of new variants which carry mutations that may make current shots less effective.

In a quarterly financial results press release on Monday, BioNTech, who is working with Pfizer to deliver one of the world’s most-administered Covid-19 shots, said it was prepared to tweak its current vaccine formula but doesn’t think it needs to.

“To date, there is no evidence that an adaptation of BioNTech’s current Covid-19 vaccine against key identified emerging variants is necessary,” the statement read. The firm added it had developed a “comprehensive strategy to address these variants should the need arise in the future.”

BioNTech started tests in March on a “modified, variant-specific version” of its widely-used jab. “The aim of this study is to explore the regulatory pathway that BioNTech and Pfizer would pursue if SARS-CoV-2 were to change enough to require an updated vaccine,” it said. 

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The firm said that multiple clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine are currently ongoing, including one on children from 6 months to 11 years of age, and that 450 million doses of its shot had been shipped to 91 countries around the world.

BioNTech affirmed its expectation to reach manufacturing capacity of around three billion doses this year.

In the same statement, the firm announced its total revenues were estimated to be over €2 billion for the first quarter of 2021 – up from just €27.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020.

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