Ugur Sahin, CEO of Germany’s BioNTech – which partnered with Pfizer to develop a COVID-19 vaccine in less than a year – says the virus could still be causing outbreaks 10 years from now, according to Yahoo News.
“The virus will stay with us for the next 10 years,” Sahin said during a Tuesday press conference, adding “We need to get used to the fact that there’ll be more outbreaks.”
“We need a new definition of normal,” he continued, suggesting that this doesn’t necessarily mean countries will have to go into perpetual lockdown – something which could stop “by the end of the summer.”
“This winter, we will not have an impact on the infection numbers,” he said, “But we must have an impact so that next winter can be the new normal.”
Sahin also urged caution on whether 60-70% of the world’s population being vaccinated would be enough to prevent further outbreaks.
“If the virus becomes more efficient…we might need a higher uptake of the vaccine for life to return to normal.” –Yahoo News
Sahin’s comments come as BioNTech and Moderna scramble to see if their vaccines work against the new “mutant” COVID-19 strain spreading throughout the UK. He added that it will take another two weeks to know if his vaccine works on it, but is hopeful that it will.
“Scientifically it is highly likely that the immune response by this vaccine can also deal with this virus variant,” he continued. “The vaccine contains more than 1,270 amino acids, and only nine of them are changed (in the mutant virus). That means that 99% of the protein is still the same.”
On Saturday, UK chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance said that vaccines appear ‘adequate’ in generating an immune response to the new strain.
The ‘new normal’ for Sahin, meanwhile, is being filthy rich(er).