Along with the increase of COVID-19 delta variant cases in various countries, the German pharmaceutical company BioNTech took immediate action and formulated a new coronavirus vaccine that is specialized to give protection against the latest coronavirus threat.
BioNTech previously partnered with one of the largest medical enterprises, Pfizer, to develop the first COVID-19 vaccine during the pandemic.
BioNTech Experts: New Delta Variant Vaccine Development Will Be Much Faster Than Original COVID-19 Vaccine
To develop a new vaccine that is focused against the COVID-19 delta variant, BioNTech used a similar laboratory procedure, but this time, it is much easier through the mRNA technology that was previously used to formulate the vaccine against the alpha variant.
mRNA comprises a genetic code that is utilized to teach the human body how to block the coronavirus. With mRNA, developing a new delta variant vaccine is as simple as altering the code.
BioNTech chief medical officer and co-founder Özlem Türeci said that the COVID-19 vaccines currently distributed around the globe contain the spike protein of the alpha variant.
The expert told in a report by Fast Company that the only procedure the experts have to conduct is to cut off the original spike protein from the vaccine formula and replace it with the delta variant.
The mRNA technology, according to Türeci, acts similar to a platform technology that maintains its composition stability even if they have to change the code sequence contained in the COVID-19 vaccine.
The pharmaceutical director added that manufacturing delta variant-specialized vaccines does not need any additional and complex steps, using the same procedures with everything as it is.
Developing a new delta variant vaccine only takes a few weeks, according to BioNTech CEO and co-founder Uğur Şahin. The expert said that with the sequence at hand, manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine targeting the delta variant will just go through four weeks or less.
Having the right sequence and mRNA technology, researchers will find it much easier to analyze and produce vaccines compared to the previous fastest vaccine development record, which took four years.
BioNTech on Quick Delta Variant Vaccine Development; CDC Have No Booster Shots Approved Yet
The BioNTech CEO said in the report that everything regarding the COVID-19 delta variant vaccine will be much easier. Considering the technology available, Şahin said that the company can ship the vaccines in just 100 days or less. Every process will consume a shorter time, including lab tests, compared to the development of the COVID-19 alpha variant vaccine.
BioNTech and Pfizer found in their previous research that protection against the delta variant is much more effective if an individual is vaccinated with a third shot of the original COVID-19 vaccine. Although potentially a fact, critics and other experts doubt the solution.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC have not approved booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine as of the moment. Along with the guidelines released by the health agency, Pfizer still suggests that protection against the delta variant can be enhanced by an extra booster shot.
BioNTech is currently conducting evaluation and examination on vaccines against the known COVID-19 variants, including the alpha, delta, lambda, and other potential variants to come.
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