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BioNTech says booster doses may be more effective than a modified COVID-19 vaccine

The company presented data showing Comirnaty’s effectiveness against different variants of SARS-CoV-2, including the Delta strain

COVID vaccine

German biotech BioNTech has proposed that booster doses of its Pfizer-partnered COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty (BNT162b2) may be preferable to a modified vaccine in order to maintain the highest level of protection.

The comments were made during BioNTech’s Q2 earnings call on 9 August 2021.

BioNTech presented data showing Comirnaty’s effectiveness against different variants of SARS-CoV-2, including the Delta strain.

“Evidence points to robust vaccine effectiveness against circulating variants in the real-world setting, including a high vaccine effectiveness against severe disease,” said BioNTech’s chief medical officer Ozlem Tureci on the call, although he noted that in elderly adults neutralisation had fallen after seven to nine months.

“To be prepared for the scenario that a response to a variant of concern may become necessary soon, we are pre-emptively establishing a development and regulatory pathway for variant specific prototype approach,” he continued. “This approach also aims to address a question whether boosting with the ancestral BNT162b2 only may suffice or variant adaptations may be required.”

Clinical results for these programmes are expected by the end of the year.

BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin said: “Our studies… clearly show that subjects who have received a third dose show increased neutralisation antibody titers, not only against the original variants, but almost with the same level also against the Delta variant. So we believe that the best approach at the moment to deal with the situation is to continue with a booster dose with the existing wild-type strain, which creates antibody responses.”

He continued: “It is quite possible that in the next six to 12 months, further variants emerge and that would require adaptation of the vaccine. But it is, at the moment, not yet the case.”

It was revealed on the call that BioNTech has raised its revenue forecasts to almost $19bn, based on contracts to deliver 2.2 billion doses of BNT162b2.

Pfizer’s Q2 results, reported last month, saw revenues up by 86% operationally to $19bn, thanks largely to sales of the BioNTech-partnered COVID-19 vaccine. The jab brought in a total of $7.8bn in the second quarter alone.

Article by
Bryony Andrews

11th August 2021

From: Healthcare

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