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Vaccine update due to mutation?


There are already several notable variants of SARS-COV-2 circulating, two of the highest profile are described below.

In Early November 2020, a variant strain was identified in Denmark as having an association with mink farming. This led to the immediate cull of all Danish farmed mink (more than 17 million) including breeding stock.

On 16 December 2020, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a briefing on VUI-202012/01, a variant of SARS-COV-2 consisting of 17 mutations, including N501Y, a mutation in the spike protein. Three days later, in response, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new set of national restrictions, including a "Tier 4" full lockdown across the southeast, and considerable curtailment of the plans to ease restrictions for 5 days over the Christmas period.

It is at least in principle possible that a mutation to SARS-COV-2 could reduce the efficacy of current vaccines.

This question asks:

Will Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, or Oxford/AstraZeneca start producing an updated vaccine targeting a SARS-CoV-2 variant before 2023?

This question resolves positively if and only if there is a credible media report before 2023 that Moderna, Pfizer, BioNTech, University of Oxford, or AstraZeneca have produced at least one dose of an updated vaccine targeting SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). The report must mention that one reason for the update was a mutation. The dose does not have to be administered, and no trials need to be planned.

  • The report can mention more than one reason for updating the vaccine, as long as one of those reasons is a mutation.

  • The vaccine does not need to be approved before the resolution date.

  • Some of these vaccines were developed in a partnership between two companies. The updated vaccine doesn’t need to be part of the same partnership. For example, if AstraZeneca starts working on an updated vaccine independently, that is sufficient for positive resolution.

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