Pfizer, Moderna test vaccines against mutated COVID-19

Dec. 22, 2020

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are gathering data to determine if their coronavirus vaccines will work against the mutated version of the virus found in the United Kingdom and other countries.

According to the CDC, the UK variant, which appears to spread more easily, has not yet been identified in the US but top experts such as Dr. Fauci say the the mutated version is likely already present in the U.S.

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have expressed initial confidence that their vaccines will remain effective against the mutated virus.

During a news conference, BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said that it will take two weeks to generate data but "scientifically, it is highly likely that the immune response by this vaccine also can deal with the new virus variants.” Should the vaccine need to be adjusted for the new variant, Sahin said it could be done in about six weeks — but regulators might have to approve the changes before the vaccines can be administered.

 "We expect that the Moderna vaccine-induced immunity would be protective against the variants recently described in the UK; we will be performing additional tests in the coming weeks," Moderna told CNN.

Since the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines received emergency use authorization the the US, more than 4.6 million doses have been delivered, and about 614,000 have been administered.