BioNTech: Highly likely vaccine works on variant

German pharmaceutical company BioNTech has suggested it is confident that the coronavirus vaccine it jointly developed with US firm Pfizer will be effective against the new variant of the virus spreading in Britain.

BioNTech Chief Executive Officer Ugur Sahin spoke to reporters online on Tuesday. He said that scientifically it is highly likely that the vaccine can also generate an immune response to the new variant. He added, however, that his firm will need about two weeks to collect data.

Sahin also said that if the vaccine needs to be adjusted to deal with the new variant, his company will be able to do so in about six weeks.

Chief Medical Officer Ozlem Tureci said the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine is being carefully examined in Japan. Tureci said she expects Japan to quickly move ahead with its approval process. She added that she could not provide a specific timetable.