On Wednesday, Pfizer stated that a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by it may provide significant protection against the new variant of the virus, Omicron, even when the previous two doses seem to be less effective.
Pfizer and its partner BioNTech claimed that though the two doses may not be able to offer enough protection that it can avoid infection, reports of lab tests reflected that a booster jab can increase by 25-fold people’s levels of virus-battling antibodies.
People Harbored Levels of Omicron-neutralizing Antibodies
Blood samples that have been collected after a month of receiving booster shots have shown that people who contained levels of Omicron-neutralizing antibodies much like amounts proved to be protective against previous variants following two shots of vaccines.
It is still not clear by the scientists how severe a risk the new variant is. Presently, the highly transmissible Delta variant is liable for outbreaking of the maximum COVID-19 cases in the U.S. as well as in other countries.
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But the new Omicron variant that had been detected late earlier this month holds a strangely major number of mutations, and scientists are rushing to find out how rapidly it spreads, whether it leads to severe illness that is more critical or milder in comparison to the other coronavirus variants, and how far it might bypass the protection of previous vaccinations.
In a statement, Pfizer’s findings, announced are primary and also have not gone through scientific analysis yet. However, they are the first from a maker of vaccines inspecting if the booster shots that health officials are asking people to receive may bring a significant change.
Scientists have assumed that the high surge in antibodies that results after taking the third jab of the COVID-19 vaccine might prove to be sufficient to offset any reduction in the efficiency of vaccines.
Dr. Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s chief scientific officer, said “Go and get your third boost as soon as possible,” adding “This is comforting and a very positive message that we now have a plan that will induce immunity that is likely to protect from infection, symptomatic illness and severe disease from now across the entire winter season.”
Willem Hanekom, a co-author of the South African study said “The more antibodies you can have on board, the better you will do, at least in these lab experiments,” adding further “So booster vaccines might be very important.”
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A U.S. expert admitted that the primary booster findings are motivating; however, more details are required.
Dr. Jesse Goodman of Georgetown University, a former Food and Drug Administration vaccine chief said “it may be much better addressed through vaccines that are adjusted to specifically protect against that variant,” s
Pfizer and Biotech Working to Create an Omicron-specific Vaccine
Pfizer along with its partner, BioNTech are already putting efforts to make a specific vaccine to fight against the new Omicron variant if it’s required.
Antibody levels show how efficiently a vaccine may avoid infection with the coronavirus, but they are only a single layer of the immune system’s protection.
Pfizer claimed that two doses of the vaccine should be able to give protection against critical illness due to COVID-19, as the mutations that have been found in Omicron don’t seem to evade one of those other defenses, T cells that battle the virus after infection triggers off.
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In a statement, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla stated that “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 maximized with the third dose of our vaccine.”
The announcement made by Pfizer had a prompt effect on U.S. markets. Futures that had highlighted a lower opening reversed course in seconds and swung solidly to the positive, with the Dow jumping almost 200 points.