Pfizer and BioNTech Start Studies of an Omicron-Specific Vaccine
Pfizer, BioNTech today announced they had begun to test an Omicron specific COVID-19 vaccine among healthy adults.
Data show that although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the existing vaccine, it is not effective in preventing the spread of the virus. Research also shows that vaccines produce fewer immune cells over time. This led to FDA authorizing a booster.
The quick dominance of the Omicron variant made clear the need to increase the protection provided by the existing vaccine, and the shot’s mRNA technology allowed scientists to modify the genetic base of the vaccine to reflect the Omicron variant in only about six weeks.
This new study will involve more than 1,400 individuals and be divided into three different groups. A first group includes individuals who have already received the two-dose current vaccine. The second group comprises those who were vaccinated using the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. It will then receive either one or two doses.
Researchers will be able to use the data to assess the incidence of infections in people currently vaccinated. They can compare the symptoms of those who receive one or two doses of Omicron shots to the ones who were boosted with current vaccines and get a dose. This data will allow scientists to compare the benefits of variant-specific vaccinations with current ones and determine whether or not they are necessary.