Recently, users on multiple social platforms forwarded unconfirmed news that Pfizer is exploring “directed evolution” to “mutate” the new coronavirus so that the company can continue to profit from the vaccine. In this regard, Pfizer issued a statement on January 27 local time denying this statement. In a statement released on its official website on the 27th, Pfizer pointed out that there have been recent allegations related to Pfizer’s gain-of-function and directed evolution research. Pfizer wants to clarify the facts: Perform gain-of-function or directed evolution studies. Pfizer and collaborators conducted a study in which the original 2019-nCoV strain was used to express the spike protein from a new strain of interest. Pfizer does this work once public health authorities identify a new variant of concern. Pfizer said the study provides the company with a way to rapidly assess the ability of existing vaccines to induce antibodies that neutralize the new variant of interest. Pfizer then makes this data available through peer-reviewed scientific journals and uses it as one of the steps in determining whether an updated vaccine is needed. In addition, in order to meet U.S. and global regulatory requirements for Pfizer’s oral therapy PAXLOVID, Pfizer performed in vitro work (e.g., in a laboratory dish) to determine the potential impact on nematevir, one of the two components of PAXLOVID. Resistance mutations. Pfizer noted that for viruses that evolve naturally, it is important to regularly assess the activity of antiviral drugs. Much of this work was carried out using computer simulations or mutations in the main protease, the non-infectious part of the virus. In rare cases, when intact viruses do not contain any known gain-of-function mutations, such viruses can be engineered to assess antiviral activity in cells. These studies are required by U.S. and global regulators for all antiviral products and are being conducted by many companies and academic institutions in the U.S. and around the world, Pfizer said. Pfizer emphasized that fact-based information rooted in sound science is critical to overcoming the new crown pandemic, and Pfizer remains committed to increasing transparency and helping to reduce the devastating burden of this disease.
Source: The Paper reporter Nan Boyi
Original title: Hotspot | Let the new crown virus mutate?Pfizer responds
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