The boss of BioNTech, the German biotech firm behind the Pfizer Covid-19, has predicted that a new formulation for jabs will likely be needed by mid-2022.
Scientists have warned that the virus could mutate in a way that means it is less resistant to vaccines.
“This year [a different vaccine] is completely unneeded. But by mid next year, it could be a different situation,” Ugur Sahin told the Financial Times.
The world has already seen a number of new strains of coronavirus emerge since Covid-19 first came about, such as the Delta variant.
But although strains like Delta are more contagious, they are not different enough to undermine the effectiveness of current vaccines, Sahin explained.
Booster shots are also a good option for combatting primary variant, Sahin added.
“This virus will stay, and the virus will further adapt,” he said. “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.”
The biotech boss predicted that by next year, there will be two main streams to vaccination programmes – booster shots for those who have already been vaccinated and a sustained push to vaccinate those have had less access to the jabs.