Pfizer and BioNTech Omicron vaccine delayed

pharmafile | February 18, 2022 | News story | Medical Communications  

The delivery of Pfizer and BioNTech SE’s vaccine, targeted specifically towards the Omicron COVID-19 variant has been delayed by several weeks, due to a slower-than-expected data gathering process, according to BioNTeh CEO Ugur Sahin.

Sahin said that the company will assess whether the vaccine is still needed, once it is ready.

“If the wave ends, that does not mean it can’t begin again.” Sahin added that BioNTech was in a position to continue creating new vaccines as variants emerged if needed.

BioNTech had previously anticipated to launch the vaccine by the end of March, but said in late January that this depended on how much clinical data regulators would acquire, according to Reuters.

Omicron cases are declining, but WHO warn against sub-variant BA.2. WHO technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove also reminded that Omicron is not mild, but less severe than the Delta variant.

The Omicron variant is now slowing down across the world, and many countries are removing the strict restrictions put in place to check the spread of the infection. However, a WHO official has raised a new concern related to an Omicron sub-strain.

“The virus is evolving and Omicron has several sub-lineages that we are tracking. We have BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.2 and BA.3. It’s really quite incredible how Omicron, the latest variant of concern has overtaken Delta around the world,” Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 technical lead at the WHO, said at a briefing. The video was posted on Twitter by WHO. “Most of the sequences are this sub-lineage BA.1. We are also seeing an increasing in proportion of sequences of BA.2.”

Lina Adams

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