A number of the world’s largest pharmaceutical firms have announced strategies to address a newly identified Covid-19 variant, dubbed Omicron, including plans to alter existing vaccines and develop new boosters.
Omicron is the latest designation by the World Health Organization. “variant of concern”Following Friday’s urgent meeting in which the strain was warned could prove more deadly than others, Big Pharma quickly went to PR. Many companies rushed to describe how they would fight the disease.
Pfizer – which has produced one of the world’s most commonly used Covid immunizations alongside its German partner BioNTech – told Fox Business that it is “remaining vigilant” “constantly”Monitoring new variants of the product that might be available “potentially escape protection”Its vaccine.
“In the event that [a] vaccine-escape variant emerges, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to be able to develop and produce a tailor-made vaccine against that variant in approximately 100 days, subject to regulatory approval,”The company did add, but didn’t say whether specific research has been done into Omicron.
BioNTech made a separate announcement stating that Omicron was being considered by the company. “differs significantly from previously observed variants as it has additional mutations located in the spike protein,”The mechanism through which coronavirus accesses host cells and causes infections is referred to by the company. A so-called “adverse effect” was also mentioned by the company. “escape variant”Could “require an adjustment of our vaccine if the variant spreads globally.”
Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, two other major Covid vaccine developers, issued similar missives on Friday, with the latter company stating that it’s already testing a booster shot for healthy adults that contains twice the vaccine dosage than what is currently approved. Moderna stated that they are currently studying two special booster candidates. “anticipate mutations such as those that have emerged in the Omicron variant.”
J&J, whose single-dose vaccine differs from the others on the market, also told Fox that it is testing its Janssen immunization efficacy against Omicron and “closely monitoring” mutations in the virus’ spike protein.
The WHO’s designation of Omicron, formerly known as the B.1.1.529 variant, triggered a near-global panic on Friday, including travel restrictions in countries across several continents and tanking stock markets around the world. Despite the alarm, however, little is yet known about the new strain – nor whether it is more transmissible or deadly compared to other variants – and the WHO has stated it may take several weeks of research to begin answering those questions.