BioNTech Starts Work on Omicron-Specific Vaccine

Representational image: AP

BioNTech SE announced on Monday that it has begun developing a vaccine for Omicron, a concerning new coronavirus variety discovered in South Africa, however, it was unclear whether it would have to alter its existing Covid-19 vaccine.

BioNTech, which develops vaccines alongside Pfizer, said in a statement that developing an adapted vaccine is part of the company’s usual practice for new varieties, Reuters reports.

“The initial stages of designing a potential new vaccination overlap with the study required to determine whether a new shot would be required,” the report continued.

The WHO warned on Monday that the omicron variety poses a very high risk of worldwide outbreaks, as more countries reported cases, forcing border restrictions. BioNTech said on Friday that it expects further lab results in the coming two weeks to help evaluate whether an omicron-specific vaccination is needed. Moderna, a competitor, has announced that it is redesigning its Covid-19 vaccine for future booster shots.

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