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Pfizer’s CEO warns of a ‘likely’ COVID variant that evades vaccines

A coronavirus variant that evades the current COVID-19 vaccines could be in the cards

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine vials at Weber State University in Ogden.
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine vials sit on a table at a vaccination clinic at the Shepherd Union Atrium at Weber State University in Ogden on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021. A coronavirus variant that evades COVID-19 vaccines is “likely” to emerge, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told Fox News earlier this week.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

A coronavirus variant that evades COVID-19 vaccines is “likely” to emerge, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told Fox News earlier this week.

  • “Every time that a variant appears in the world, our scientists are getting their hands around it,” Bourla told Fox News. “And they are researching to see if this variant can escape the protection of our vaccine.
  • “We haven’t identified any yet, but we believe that it is likely that one day, one of them will emerge.”

Could Pfizer develop a new vaccine for variants?

It would take three months for Pfizer to produce new versions of its COVID-19 vaccine that could take on a new variant, Bourla said.

  • “We have built a process that within 95 days from the day that we identify a variant as a variant of concern, we will be able to have a vaccine tailor-made against this variant,” Bourla said, according to Insider.

Will there be a ‘doomsday variant’?

There has been an ongoing discussion about a potential “doomsday variant” that has experts worried for the future of the pandemic. Experts told Newsweek this week that more COVID-19 variants might come soon, and one of them might evade vaccines and spread too fast for science to keep up.

  • “I wouldn’t be incredibly surprised if something else came along that’s even more transmissible,” Eric Vail, director of molecular pathology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, told Newsweek.

In fact, new research suggested that the lambda variant of the coronavirus has the power to evade vaccines and antibodies, as I wrote for the Deseret News. That research is preliminary, though, and the lambda variant has not spread too far in the U.S. yet.

Jeremy Luban, a virologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, told The Washington Post something similar.

  • “Nobody knows what tricks the virus has left,” Luban told The Washington Post. “It’s possible we’ve seen all of its chess moves, or its poker tricks, but it’s got a very big complicated genome and it probably still has some space to explore.”