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‘By next year, COVID variants will be able to evade the vaccine’

The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine will likely need to be updated in the coming months, according to BioNTech’s chief executive officer.

Uğur Şahin, CEO of the German company which partnered with Pfizer to develop the COVID vaccine, told the Financial Times Sunday that the rapid pace of chances in the coronavirus variants made it increasingly likely that a new version of the vaccine will have to be developed in the coming months, predicting that the existing vaccine would be ineffective by the middle of next year.

“This year [it] is completely unneeded,” said Şahin.

“But by mid next year, it could be a different situation.”

The existing vaccine, developed against the Alpha, or first detected variant, is expected to remain in use through 2021, despite the rapid spread of other strains of the virus, including the Delta, or Indian Variant.

Health officials in Israel, which has relied exclusively on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, have said that while the vaccine appears to be far less effective in preventing infection and spread of the Delta variant than the original variant, the current vaccine remains effective in reducing rates of serious illness and COVID-related deaths.

That could change next year, however, Şahin hinted, saying that the virus had just begun to evolve.

“This virus will stay, and the virus will further adapt. We have no reason to assume that the next generation virus will be easier to handle for the immune system than the existing generation. This is a continuous evolution, and that evolution has just started.”

Source: Arutz Sheva