(Bloomberg) – Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE noted that initial laboratory studies show that a third dose of their COVID-19 vaccine neutralizes the omicron variant, results that will accelerate booster campaigns around the world.
A booster with the current version of the vaccine increases antibodies by 25 times, providing a level similar to that seen after two doses against the parent virus and other variants, the companies said. Even so, so-called T cells can provide protection against severe disease, they indicated.
However, the partners said they are confident that a version of the vaccine will be ready for delivery by March 2022. specifically for omicron.
Blood plasma from people immunized with two doses of the vaccine showed a 25-fold reduction in neutralizing antibody levels versus omicron, compared to the original variant of the virus, the companies said.
The results were the latest in a series of preliminary data that emerged over the past day, lor that it shows that a third dose can, at least in part, improve the body’s defenses against the omicron variant after the initial two doses. Uncertainty around the efficacy of the vaccine against the new variant has fueled volatility in markets and prompted travel restrictions since omicron was identified in southern Africa last month.
“From this preliminary data, it is clear that protection improves with a third dose,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement. Initial data shows that a third dose could offer sufficient protection against the disease, BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin said.
The data is preliminary, as partners continue to study the new variant. People vaccinated with two doses may still be protected against severe covid cases caused by the omicron variant, thanks to T cells that are not affected by mutations in the variant, the companies noted.
Pfizer, BioNTech Say Third Dose Neutralizes Omicron Variant (2)