- Future COVID-19 variants could evade current vaccines and boosters, the CEO of BioNTech told the FT.
- We may therefore need new COVID-19 vaccines my mid-2022, Ugur Sahin said.
- BioNTech and Pfizer codeveloped the US' only fully approved COVID-19 vaccine.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
Sahin told the publication that current COVID-19 vaccines, including the one BioNTech developed with Pfizer, worked against circulating variants, such as the highly contagious Delta variant, and that booster shots could give further protection.
But future variants of the virus could evade the immune response these vaccines produce, Sahin told the Financial Times.
"Tailored" COVID-19 vaccines could therefore be needed, he said.
"This year [a different vaccine] is completely unneeded. But by mid next year, it could be a different situation," Sahin said.
"This virus will stay, and the virus will further adapt," Sahin told the FT. "We have no reason to assume that the next generation virus will be easier to handle for the immune system than the existing generation. This is a continuous evolution, and that evolution has just started."
Vaccination programs around the world will have two separate focuses next year: one for vaccinated people needing booster shots, and another for unvaccinated people with less access to shots, Sahin said.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in late September on ABC News' "This Week" that life would return to normal within the next year, despite new COVID-19 variants continuing to emerge.