Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) said Wednesday that three shots of its vaccine are effective at neutralizing the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The information stems from a laboratory test the pharma giant carried out, while it further announced that an Omicron-specific vaccine could be ready in March 2022.
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25 Times More Antibodies
As reported by Reuters, Pfizer —together with BioNTech SE -ARD (NASDAQ:BNTX)—has established that two doses of its Covid vaccine could not offer enough antibodies against the Omicron strain. However, a third shot could boost antibodies by 25 times.
Pfizer boss Albert Bourla said in the 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.”
It is not yet clear whether a third dose is required. In the meantime, the company is working on an Omicron-focused shot, whose development started November 25 when the strain was classified as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Blood obtained from people given a third injection a month ago was found to counter the Omicron strain just as successfully as the blood that fought off the original virus with only two shots.
A preliminary study carried out by the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa broadly backs the findings. According to the results, Omicron can somewhat dodge the shield generated by two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech preparation, “suggesting also that a third shot might help fend off infection.”
However, the university hospital of Frankfurt in Germany did a lab analysis that showed that even after three shots, there is a lower antibody response to Omicron.
“The U.S.-German vaccine partners also struck an optimistic tone on the prospect of their shot protecting against any severe disease from Omicron, even though the lab data did not yield new insights on that,” Reuters informs.
Both Pfizer and BioNTech have asserted that people who received their vaccines could still be shielded against developing severe symptoms and possible hospitalizations.
According to Bloomberg, “News of the study outcome helped buoy the U.S. stock market, with S&P 500 futures gaining 0.2%. Pfizer shares gained 0.5% in pre-market trading in New York, while BioNTech American depositary receipts rose 3%.”