Pfizer, BioNTech say booster shot promising in neutralizing Covid variant Omicron

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Dec 09, 2021
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The companies further say they have high confidence to deliver Omicron-based vaccine in March 2022

As cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant continue to rise across the globe, Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE have said that the booster dose of their Covid-19 vaccine is more effective in neutralising the variant.

The companies on Wednesday announced results from an initial laboratory study demonstrating that serum antibodies induced by the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine (BNT162b2) neutralise the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant after three doses.

“Although two doses of the vaccine may still offer protection against severe disease caused by the Omicron strain, it’s clear from these preliminary data that protection is improved with a third dose of our vaccine,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer inna statement.

“Ensuring as many people as possible are fully vaccinated with the first two dose series and a booster remains the best course of action to prevent the spread of Covid-19," Bourla added.

“Our preliminary, first dataset indicate that a third dose could still offer a sufficient level of protection from disease of any severity caused by the Omicron variant,” said Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-Founder of BioNTech.

“Broad vaccination and booster campaigns around the world could help us to better protect people everywhere and to get through the winter season. We continue to work on an adapted vaccine which, we believe, will help to induce a high level of protection against Omicron-induced Covid-19 disease as well as a prolonged protection compared to the current vaccine," said Sahin.

As per the study, three doses of the vaccine were able to neutralise the Omicron variant as effectively as comparable to those observed for the wild-type SARS-CoV-2 spike protein after two doses.

"A more robust protection may be achieved by a third dose as data from additional studies of the companies indicate that a booster with the current COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech increases the antibody titers by 25-fold," it said.

"We wll continue to collect more laboratory data and evaluate real-world effectiveness to assess and confirm protection against Omicron and inform the most effective path forward," the companies said.

Previously, the companies on November 25 had started to develop an Omicron-specific Covid-19 vaccine. It will continue the development of the vaccine as planned in the event that a vaccine adaption is needed to increase the level and duration of protection against Omicron.

"First batches of the Omicron-based vaccine can be produced and are planned to be ready for deliveries within 100 days, pending regulatory approval. Pfizer and BioNTech have tested other variant-specific vaccines as well, which have produced very strong neutralization titers and a tolerable safety profile," the companies added.

The companies further said that they have high confidence to deliver Omicron-based vaccine in March 2022 based on this experience.

The companies have previously announced that they expect to produce four billion doses of the BNT162b2 Covid-19 vaccine in 2022, and this capacity is not expected to change if an adapted vaccine is required, they added.

Published on December 09, 2021

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