Right now it doesn't seem like a Delta variant-specific COVID-19 vaccine will be necessary because the original shot is holding up well, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Tuesday during an interview with The Atlantic.
However, he added that the company will continue to tweak its vaccine to stay ahead of the curve in case things change. "We are in the middle of the process of producing a specific for Delta variant vaccine," he said. "It is 99.9 percent [probable] that we will not need it."
Bourla's confidence in the current vaccine seems to line up with other experts, who don't expect to be seeing a vaccine tailored to Delta anytime soon, even for potential first doses for people who remain unvaccinated. Vox's Sigal Samuel explored the question in a report published Monday, revealing that infectious disease specialists and virologists don't believe the updated vaccines will be needed and could even lead to manufacturing mixups if they're mass-produced. Plus, the regulatory process would simply take up time "that right now we don't have," said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan.
Still, there's agreement that tinkering with the mRNA technology, which can be updated and produced more quickly, will come in handy, especially in the long run because it allows researchers to identify potential hiccups in the process. At the end of the day, it's best to be prepared. Read more at Vox.