- The Covid-19 vaccine delivered vaccine research years, Pfizer’s CEO said, and now is the time to use advances for other viral diseases, such as the flu.
- “We will be able to deliver medical solutions to other devastating diseases,” the CEO said.
- The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine used a new method of messenger RNA to initiate the immune response. Modern vaccine also used mRNA.
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The Covid-19 immunization has been advancing vaccine science for years, and now is the time to use those advances “for the benefit of humanity,”
“We have accumulated scientific knowledge and technology and know-how over the years,” he said. “We have developed infrastructure that will normally take years to be able to develop.”
Pfizer developed its Covid-19 vaccine, which is 95% effective in fighting the virus, with BioNTech, whose co-founder Ugur Sahin designed the vaccine in a matter of hours in January last year, according to a podcast from Gimlet and The Wall Street Journal. The vaccine uses messenger RNA, a genetic material that tells cells how to make proteins. mRNA has never before been used in an FDA-approved vaccine.
Read more: How pharmaceutical giant Pfizer teamed up with a little-known biotechnology to develop the first authorized coronavirus vaccine in record time
Pfizer’s vaccine works by injecting a small piece of coronavirus mRNA into the body, which encodes the virus’ spike protein. That protein is what helps the virus bind to and invade cells, and that’s what antibodies target. So the vaccine encourages the body to produce the spike protein internally to trigger the same immune response.
With all the knowledge developed to create the vaccine with BioNTech, “we will be able to offer medical solutions to other devastating diseases,” Bourla said.
Burla also said the company would pursue new avenues to its pipeline within the year. He noted the flu vaccine as such a route along with other viral diseases.
“We believe that mRNA can completely disrupt the flu market because you can do things in weeks instead of months,” Bourla said. “So as the flu market changes every year with a new variant, this technology is ideal to be able to adapt to the latest news about the current strength and be much more efficient as a result.”
Modern vaccine, which has a similar efficacy rate in combating Covid-19, also uses mRNA to trigger the immune response. Both vaccines were approved last year with millions of people already receiving the vaccination, although the rollout has been slow. At the JPMorgan conference, Moderna said it would deliver between 600 million and 1 billion doses by 2021, and Pfizer said it predicted it would produce 2 billion this year.