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Still Likely to Work

Uğur Şahin, the chief executive of BioNTech, says the vaccine his company developed with Pfizer should be effective against the new SARS-CoV-2 strain identified in the UK, the Guardian reports.

The strain, dubbed B.1.1.7, has led to concerns that it might be more easily transmitted than other SARS-CoV-2 stains, but as Science has reported, researchers are still trying to work out the significance of the new strain. 

According to the Guardian, Şahin says that as the proteins on this new strain are still highly similar to those on other strains, the vaccine still will likely be effective. "We don't know at the moment if our vaccine is also able to provide protection against this new variant," he adds. "But scientifically, it is highly likely that the immune response by this vaccine also can deal with the new virus variants."

Moncef Slaoui, the head scientific advisor to Operation Warp Speed in the US, similarly tells the New York Times that the new strain was unlikely to affect vaccine efficacy.

Şahin adds that if the vaccine does need to be tweaked to provide protection against this strain, that could be done in a few weeks, the Guardian says.

The Scan

Support for Moderna Booster

An FDA advisory committee supports authorizing a booster for Moderna's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, CNN reports.

Testing at UK Lab Suspended

SARS-CoV-2 testing at a UK lab has been suspended following a number of false negative results.

J&J CSO to Step Down

The Wall Street Journal reports that Paul Stoffels will be stepping down as chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson by the end of the year.

Science Papers Present Proteo-Genomic Map of Human Health, Brain Tumor Target, Tool to Infer CNVs

In Science this week: gene-protein-disease map, epigenomic and transcriptomic approach highlights potential therapeutic target for gliomas, and more