Pfizer and BioNTech said they are developing a new booster shot to help combat the new COVID-19 variants popping up across the world, Bloomberg reports.

  • “Every time a new variant comes up we should be able to test whether or not (our vaccine) is effective,” Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla told Bloomberg. “Once we discover something that it is not as effective, we will very, very quickly be able to produce a booster dose that will be a small variation to the current vaccine.”
  • “We are already laying the groundwork to respond quickly if a variant of SARS-CoV-2 shows evidence of escaping immunity by our vaccine,” Pfizer said in an email to Reuters.
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The company said new studies will need to be done to evaluate the booster.

Bigger picture

Pfizer said it will distribute 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of May, which is two months sooner than previously expected, according to Bloomberg.

Context

Moderna said earlier this week that it is working on an upgrade to the COVID-19 vaccine in case the variants become more widespread. The upgrade will include a booster shot that will protect people from the variants, according to The New York Times.

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Moderna says its vaccine can stop variants. But it’s creating another booster just in case

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently said on the “Today” show that most vaccines can defeat the new variants. But the developers may need to upgrade the vaccine still in anticipation of new variants.

  • “I don’t want people to think that the vaccines are not effective against them — they are. However, we really need to make sure that we begin, and we already have, to prepare, if it’s necessary, to upgrade the vaccines.”