Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine neutralizes Omicron in three shots – .

Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine neutralizes Omicron in three shots – .

  • Neutralizing antibodies seen one month after the third dose
  • Pfizer CEO says seeking recall is best option
  • The vaccine may still protect against serious illness
  • Any vaccine relaunch could be carried out in March 2022

December 8 (Reuters) – BioNTech and Pfizer (PFE.N) said on Wednesday that a series of three injections of their COVID-19 vaccine was able to neutralize the new Omicron variant in a lab test and said they could provide an improved vaccine in March 2022 if needed.

BioNTech and Pifzer are the first manufacturers of a COVID vaccine to release an official update on the effectiveness of their injection against Omicron.

The German and American companies said two doses of their vaccine resulted in significantly lower neutralizing antibodies, but a third dose increased those antibodies by a factor of 25.

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In the manufacturers’ first official statement on the effectiveness of their vaccine against Omicron, they said two doses resulted in significantly lower neutralizing antibodies, but a third dose increased those antibodies by a factor of 25.

The Omicron variant was neutralized in blood samples taken about a month after the third stroke about as effectively as two doses neutralized the original virus identified in China.

“Ensuring that as many people as possible are fully vaccinated with the first two sets of doses and a booster remains the best course of action to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Pfizer boss Albert Bourla, in the press release.

The Omicron variant, first detected in southern Africa last month, has raised global alarms about a further rise in infections. Cases have already been reported from Japan to the United States and across Europe.

The World Health Organization listed Omicron on Nov. 26 as a “variant of concern,” but said there was no evidence to support the need for new vaccines specifically designed to fight the variant and its mutations. Read more

Nonetheless, the companies said they would continue their efforts to bring an Omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccine to market. Work had started when the variant first raised concerns on November 25.

They said their planned production of 4 billion doses of the Comirnaty vaccine in 2022 is not expected to change if a suitable vaccine is needed.

The results are broadly in line with a preliminary study released Tuesday by researchers at the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa, which said Omicron may partially escape protection against two doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine and suggested that ‘a third shot could help fend off infection.

Research on the new variant is still at an early stage. Laboratory analysis at the University Hospital in Frankfurt in Germany found that the ability to produce an antibody response to Omicron in people who received three injections was up to 37 times lower than the response to Delta. Read more

“Companies believe that vaccinated individuals can still be protected against severe forms of the disease,” BioNTech and Pfizer said, although laboratory data and real-world surveillance have yet to yield new information.

The vast majority of surface structures on the T-cell-targeted Omicron spike protein, which typically emerge after vaccination, are unaffected by Omicron mutations, they said.

T cells are the second pillar of an immune response, alongside antibodies, and are believed to prevent serious disease by attacking infected human cells.

For their analysis, the two companies used a virus bio-engineered to have mutations characteristic of Omicron, known as a pseudovirus, and subjects were collected from blood three weeks after a second dose of vaccine or one month. after a third.

There is no significant data yet on how vaccines from Moderna (MRNA.O), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) and other drugmakers are resistant to the new variant, but they are expected to release their own data in a few weeks.

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Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Alex Richardson and Edmund Blair

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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