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New Covid Vaccine May be Needed Next Year, BioNTech CEO Says

BioNTech CEO Sahin says a new vaccine will probably be needed by the middle of next year to fight off Covid variants.
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BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get BioNTech SE Sponsored ADR Report Chief Executive Ugur Sahin says a new vaccine will probably be needed by the middle of next year to fight off Covid variants.

“This year [a new vaccine] is completely unneeded,” he told the Financial Times. “But by mid-next year, it could be a different situation.”

BioNTech, Mainz, Germany, partnered with U.S. health-care titan Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report on one of the three Covid vaccines used in the U.S. The other two are produced by Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Moderna, Inc. Report and Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Report.

Current Covid mutations aren’t different enough from the original to blunt the effectiveness of the vaccines already in use, Sahin said. Booster shots can do the trick for that.

But more resistant variants will emerge. “This virus will stay, and the virus will further adapt,” he said.

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“We have no reason to assume that the next generation virus will be easier to handle for the immune system than the existing generation. This is a continuous evolution, and that evolution has just started.”

BioNTech’s stock recently traded at $248.60, down 2.4%. But it still has more than doubled (up 114%) over the past six months amid strong demand for its vaccine.

In other Covid news, drug giant Merck  (MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Report said Friday that it would seek emergency-use approval from the Food and Drug Administration for a Covid treatment pill.

It said the drug cut the risk of hospitalization and death in high-risk patients by as much as 50%.

The drug, known as molnupiravir, would offer an at-home treatment option for Covid patients.