The German company BioNTech has released promising initial trial results for its Coronavirus vaccine, RUG Professor of Vaccinology: “I hope that we can fly the flag in six months”
The new vaccine from the German company BioNTech is causing optimism in Groningen’s UMCG hospital, but specialists still have a few questions about it. Anke Huckriede, professor of Vaccinology at the RUG and the UMCG says “I hope that in six months the flag can fly.” As reported by RTV Noord.
On Monday, the BioNTech announced its first preliminary research results, showing that in nine out of ten cases infected test subjects benefitted from the vaccine. That is more than experts, including Huckriede, expected.
BioNTech’s research has now reached ‘phase three’: the final stage before large-scale production can begin. Nearly 44,000 subjects are participating in the study, divided into two groups. One half were vaccinated with the test-vaccine, the other half with a placebo. Nine times as many people in the latter group became ill from the Coronavirus, the company says.
But it is too early for definitive conclusions and there are still a number of uncertainties, Huckriede explains: “In the short term, the vaccine offers protection, but will it stay that way? How long does the protection last? These questions cannot yet be answered. In six months’ time it will be clear how many of the vaccinated subjects will still be infected “.
Still, according to the professor, there is little chance that mistakes will be made in haste when developing the vaccine: “This is done according to fixed protocols that guarantee safety. Known, possible side effects should be presented to the subjects “.
These side effects are comparable to those of the regular flu shot, only a bit stronger, says Huckriede: “Feeling flu for a few days, feverish and some headaches. In itself a good sign, because that means that the body is building up defenses “.
Unexpected side effects can never be completely ruled out, Huckriede admits. “But the question is whether the vaccination is the real cause. For example, if someone has a heart attack two days later, it most likely has nothing to do with that vaccine “.
Huckriede also says that whilst the virus could mutate to ‘outsmart’ the vaccine, “the virus has no reason to change, because at present hardly anyone has antibodies in their body”.