A three-shot course of the Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine COVID-19 vaccine was able to neutralise the new Omicron variant in a laboratory test, the Company has announced and said they could deliver an upgraded vaccine in March 2022 if needed.
BioNTech and Pifzer are the first manufacturers of a COVID vaccine to issue an official update on the efficacy of their shot against Omicron.
They said that two doses of their vaccine resulted in significantly lower neutralising antibodies but a third dose boosted those antibodies by a factor of 25.
In the first official statement from manufacturers on the efficacy of their vaccine against Omicron, they said two doses resulted in significantly lower neutralising antibodies but a third dose boosted those antibodies by a factor of 25.
The Omicron variant was neutralised in samples of blood taken around a month after the third shot about as effectively as two doses neutralised the original virus identified in China.
“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,” Pfizer boss Albert Bourla said in the statement.
The findings are broadly in line with a preliminary study published by researchers at the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa on Tuesday, which said Omicron could partially evade protection from two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and suggested a third shot might help fend off infection.
“The companies believe that vaccinated individuals may still be protected against severe forms of the disease,” BioNTech and Pfizer said, although lab data and real-world monitoring had yet to yield new insights.
The vast majority of surface structures on the Omicron spike protein targeted by the T-cells, which typically emerge after vaccination, are not affected by Omicron’s mutations, they said.