Germany’s BioNTech, Pfizer’s partner in COVID-19 vaccines, announced on Wednesday that the two companies would start tests on humans of next-generation shots that protect against a wide variety of coronaviruses in the second half of the year.
According to reports, the companies’ experimental work on vaccines other than the current approach of including T-cell-enhancing shots is designed to primarily protect against severe disease if the virus becomes more dangerous, and pan-coronavirus shots that protect against the broader family of viruses and its mutations.
In presentation slides posted on BioNTech’s website for its investor day, the German biotech firm said its aim was to “provide durable variant protection”.
Reportedly, the two partners are currently discussing with regulators enhanced versions of their established shot to better protect against the Omicron variant and its sublineages.
Meanwhile, BioNTech also said that it was independently working on precision antibiotics that can kill “superbugs” that have grown resistant to currently available anti-infectives. However, BioNTech did not reveal when it will initiate the trials, as reported by news agency Reuters.
Currently, drug-resistant infections are on the rise which is caused by antibiotic overuse and leaks into the environment in antibiotics production. Public health researchers put the combined number of people dying per year from antibiotic-resistant infections in the United States and the European Union at close to 70,000.
(With inputs from Reuters)