Approximately two weeks before Pfizer and BioNTech issued their press release, scientists from Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, CA, released a commentary in Nature calling for the government to invest $100-$200 Million in a new ‘pan-virus vaccine’. The article is titled “Variant-proof vaccines— invest now for the next pandemic”.
The article starts by calling the “rapid development and delivery” of COVID-19 vaccines a “huge success story”.
Although the press release from Pfizer and BioNTech says they have no evidence that their vaccine is ineffective in terms of SARS-CoV-2 variants, this article counteracts this statement.
The scientists say that “laboratory studies suggest the potential for immune escape with at least one of these [SARS-CoV-2] variants.” (5)
The commentary seems to be critical of the government’s ill-preparedness for a pandemic. They believe that the next pandemic will involve ‘evasion-strong’ pathogens and that the only way to defeat them will be with a silver bullet vaccine.
This will not be an easy feat, though. The scientists say, “Generating very broad, very potent neutralizing antibodies can be difficult” but that “compromises can be made, and methods for delivering cocktails of antibodies (two or three, say) and vaccines are becoming feasible.” (6)
Their approach involves the use of a “special class of protective antibodies called broadly neutralizing antibodies” which are reported to act against many different strains of related virus.