Pfizer teams up with BioNTech to tackle Covid-19
Pfizer has announced plans to collaborate with BioNTech to share resources and accelerate drug development in the battle to find a vaccine to tackle the spread of Covid-19.
While the companies work through terms of a final agreement, Phil Dormitzer, Vice-President and Chief Scientific Officer for Viral Vaccines at Pfizer, said: “In the meantime, we will make our resources available to do as much as we can to help in this public health crisis.”
In the weeks and months ahead, plans have been put in place to work with regulatory officials to fast-track the vaccine’s testing, as well as scale-up manufacturing, testing facilities and storage. BioNTech has already made progress in this area by synthesizing a set of potential RNA vaccines and said it expected to begin testing the vaccines in human subjects in a small study in Germany in April 2020.
Given the rapidly evolving situation, Pfizer and BioNTech have been working at what they claimed was “an unprecedented speed and level of collaboration” as they look to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
Unlike conventional vaccines — which take months to produce by growing weakened forms of the virus — RNA vaccines can be constructed quickly using only the pathogen’s genetic code.
RNA vaccines work by introducing a type of RNA, which is produced without growing the virus, into the body. The cells then use this information to build a protein, called an antigen, which is specific to the virus. The immune system then recognizes the antigen and builds up immunity against it.
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