India is in crisis right now due to the coronavirus pandemic. There are a number of reasons why COVID-19 is spiking there, including a “double mutant” version of the virus that has combined two mutations into one.

But BioNTech CEO Uhur Sahin said recently that the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will likely work against that double mutant, which might calm fears that what is happening in India could happen in the United States.

The ‘double mutant,’ explained

India’s Health Ministry said back in March that it had discovered a new “double mutant” of the coronavirus that is a mix of “two mutations coming together in the same virus,” virologist Shahid Jameel told BBC News.

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The “double mutant” was recently found in California, too, as I wrote for the Deseret News. The Stanford Clinical Virology Lab said it discovered at least one case of the “double mutant.”

Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert, said the double mutant variant is “less forgiving” than other coronavirus variants in the world, per Fox News.

Does the Pfizer vaccine work against ‘double mutant’ variant?

Sahin told CNBC that there was previous testing of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine against double mutants and variants, saying he expects the vaccine to work well against the “double mutant.”

  • “We had similar double mutants in our prior testing, and we are confident based on the data we had in the past that we might see a similar fashion of neutralization of this virus. But we will only know it if we have the data in our hands,” he said, according to CNBC.

Salin said more data and research will be done to determine the vaccine’s effectiveness in the future.

  • “We are evaluating (the strain) ... and the data will be available in the coming weeks,” he told CNBC.
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