The CEO said there’s concern about a resurgence of the virus caused by the Delta variant that has been tied to the recent outbreak in India. “In the United Kingdom, where about 50% of people had already had their second shot, the Delta variant is still increasing,” Sahin said.
That’s a reason to stay vigilant against the virus, the CEO said. “If we are not careful and not cautious enough we might, in certain regions, run into a fourth wave,” Sahin said.
Such a result could be avoided if localities remained on guard and slowly opened back up. Watching Covid-19 data such as infection rates will also be key, he said. “If the numbers are dropping, it’s fine. But if the numbers are increasing, we would run into the next wave.”
Roughly 16% of the global population had been fully vaccinated as of Wednesday, according to Bloomberg. A recent study, which has not been peer reviewed, suggested that both
‘s vaccines protect against hospitalization due to the Delta variant, Barron’s previously reported. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labeled the Delta mutation a variant of concern, noting possible attributes including increased transmissibility and potential reduction in effectiveness of treatments or vaccines.
Sahin also said he foresees the need for booster shots since antibody levels have been observed decreasing six months following full vaccination. “Since antibody titers are associated with protection, it would make sense at a certain time point to do a booster,” he said. That could come six to nine months after a person is completely vaccinated, though he noted that governments will ultimately make the decision.
Describing the delivery of vaccines to developing and low-income countries as an obligation, Sahin said BioNTech (ticker: (BNTX)) and its vaccine partner
(PFE) have opened new manufacturing sites to manufacture up to 3 billion doses this year, up from the 1.3 billion initially planned.
“We are going to deliver more than 1 billion doses to low-income countries and developing countries this year, and we plan to do at least 1 billion doses next year, maybe more,” he said. In the mid- and long-term, Sahin said the company wants to increase manufacturing capacity globally.
Write to Shaina Mishkin at [email protected]