“We understand the concern of experts and have immediately initiated investigations on variant B.1.1.529,” the biotech firm, which is in a vaccine alliance with Pfizer, said in a statement when asked to comment.
“We expect more data from the laboratory tests in two weeks at the latest. These data will provide more information about whether B.1.1.529 could be an escape variant that may require an adjustment of our vaccine if the variant spreads globally,” it added.
Escape variants are those that elude the targeted immune response brought about by vaccination. Should it be necessary, Pfizer and BioNTech would be able to redesign their shot within 6 weeks and ship initial batches within 100 days, BioNTech added.