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Unherd: Why third jabs are inevitable

June 15, 2021

Amin Khan, Head of Vaccines at GreenLight Biosciences, speaks to Unherd a wider piece about why third jabs are inevitable.

Credit: Unherd/Amarjeet Kumar

Amin Khan, Head of Vaccines at GreenLight Biosciences, speaks to Unherd about the ability to rapidly rollout new mRNA vaccines in a wider piece about why third jabs are inevitable. Extracts below:

Amin Khan, head of vaccines at the biotech firm GreenLight, says that you can get a new variant-specific mRNA vaccine ready to go in a few weeks. And if the new version simply targets a slightly modified version of the spike protein, as the existing vaccines do, it won’t need much in the way of testing and regulatory approval. Changing your manufacturing system is more complicated, “but within two or three months, you can get a new variant to the market”.

Playing whack-a-mole with new variants isn’t a long-term solution, though. The hope is that “third-generation” vaccines will be capable of covering all the existing variants and most foreseeable future ones. But, says Khan, that’s a bit more complicated. A more complete version might target other parts of the virus than the spike protein; that would mean a much more rigorous testing and approval regime, and it may take months longer to get such a vaccine to market.


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