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FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’s BioNTech said it was on track to introduce a COVID-19 shot by the early fall in the northern hemisphere that is adapted to currently dominant virus variants in line with recommendations by the World Health Organization.
BioNTech was targeting regulatory approval by the end of the summer to allow for a seasonal vaccination campaign to start in early autumn, CEO and co-founder Ugur Sahin told shareholders at the biotech firm’s annual general meeting on Thursday.
BioNTech is collaborating on the vaccine with Pfizer in markets outside of greater China.
A WHO advisory group last week recommended that this year’s COVID-19 booster shots be updated to target one of the currently dominant XBB variants.
BioNTech/PFizer’s new formulation would aim to produce antibody responses to the XBB.1.5 or XBB.1.16 variants, as preferred by the WHO, Sahin said, adding that the partners would introduce a ready-to-use single dose, a change from the multi-dose vials that were standard during the pandemic.
Moderna and Novavax have also been working on versions of their respective vaccines targeting XBB.1.5 and other currently circulating strains.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger and Patricia Weiss, Editing by Rachel More)
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