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Omicron: Pfizer Reveals 3 Doses Of Its Covid-19 Provides High Level Of Protection

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Pfizer and BioNTech have revealed that 3 doses of its Covid-19 vaccine provide a high level of protection against the new Omicron variant of the virus that causes coronavirus.

This follows the reported results from an initial laboratory study showing that serum antibodies induced by the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine neutralized the Omicron variant after 3 doses.

Pfizer Inc and BioNTechon on Wednesday reported results from an initial laboratory study showing that serum antibodies induced by the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine neutralised the Omicron variant after three doses.

This was disclosed by the Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, in a joint statement with BioNTech.

According to a preliminary lab study, a booster shot of the vaccine increases antibody protection 25-fold compared with the initial two-dose series. A third shot shows virus-fighting abilities comparable with the 95% protection provided by two doses against the original strain of the virus.

The companies said 2 doses of the vaccine showed a significant reduction in the ability of antibodies to target and neutralize omicron, though they may still protect against severe disease.

The statement reads, ‘’Sera from individuals who received two doses of the current COVID-19 vaccine did exhibit, on average, more than a 25-fold reduction in neutralization titers against the Omicron variant compared to wild-type, indicating that two doses of BNT162b2 may not be sufficient to protect against infection with the Omicron variant.

‘’However, as the vast majority of epitopes targeted by vaccine-induced T cells are not affected by the mutations in Omicron, the companies believe that vaccinated individuals may still be protected against severe forms of the disease and are closely monitoring real world effectiveness against Omicron, globally.

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. According to the companies’ preliminary data, a third dose provides a similar level of neutralizing antibodies to Omicron as is observed after two doses against wild-type and other variants that emerged before Omicron.

‘’These antibody levels are associated with high efficacy against both the wild-type virus and these variants. A third dose also strongly increases CD8+ T cell levels against multiple spike protein epitopes which are considered to correlate with the protection against severe disease. Compared to the wild-type virus, the vast majority of these epitopes remain unchanged in the Omicron spike variant.’’

Bourla in his statement said, ‘’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.

“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.

The CEO and Co-Founder of BioNTech, Ugur Sahin, said, “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.

“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.

The companies stated that while these results are preliminary, it will 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 started to develop an Omicron-specific Covid-19 vaccine on November 25 and will continue as planned in the event that a vaccine adaption is needed to increase the level and duration of protection against Omicron.

They stated that the first batches of the Omicron-based vaccine can be produced and are planned to be ready for deliveries within 100 days, pending regulatory approval.

Since the discovery of the new strain of the Covid-19 in South Africa and its designation as a variant of concern (VOC) by the World Health Organisation (WHO), there have been concerns about how effective current vaccines are against it.

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