Q&A: BioNTech vaccine is only ‘mRNA 1.0’. This is just the beginning, say co-founders

The successful development of mRNA vaccines for Covid-19 is ‘transformational’ and opens the doors to new types of vaccines for other infectious diseases as well as cancer, according to Dr Özlem Türeci and Dr Uğur Şahin, the co-founders of Germany’s BioNTech. The main question, they say, is which vaccine to prioritise first. The Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine was … Read more

How a year of coronavirus activity unfolded at the EU’s medicines regulator

The speed with which coronavirus vaccines have been developed surprised everyone and could transform public health into the future, says Dr Fergus Sweeney, head of the clinical studies and manufacturing taskforce at the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Here he gives us a glimpse at the work of the regulator over the past year as part … Read more

Covid-19 variants: Five things to know about how coronavirus is evolving

The Sars-CoV-2 virus is changing in ways that are making it more transmissible, increasing the severity of disease it causes and allowing it to infect people who should have immunity. These variants are causing concern among global health experts, particularly as there are signs that some vaccines may be less effective against them.  Here are … Read more

The new antibody that may be able to stay ‘one step ahead’ of coronavirus mutations

A new antibody that can mount a double attack on the Sars-CoV-2 virus by binding to two different sites on the spike protein is starting human trials, leading to hopes of an antibody therapy that can maintain its effectiveness even against new variants of coronavirus. A virus is constantly mutating. Staying ahead of the evolutionary … Read more

‘Needle in a haystack’: The hunt for coronavirus drug compounds in a Belgian biosafety lab

Professor Johan Neyts, a virologist at the Rega Institute for Medical Research at KU Leuven in Belgium, leads a team searching for drugs that can help us in the fight against Covid-19. His laboratory is part of two projects that are screening millions of compounds to find some that block the coronavirus from replicating and so … Read more

How a trial that mirrors intensive care practices is pinpointing life-saving coronavirus treatments

Two anti-inflammatory drugs – tocilizumab and sarilumab – as well as steroids, have been identified as potential life-saving coronavirus treatments thanks to a trial set up in the wake of the 2009 swine flu pandemic that mirrors the way that people receive multiple treatments while in intensive care. When the H1N1 swine flu outbreak hit in … Read more