As part of a clinical trial, Pfizer is recruiting healthy adults to test a reformulated COVID-19 vaccine that mimics the highly contagious omicron version.
On Tuesday, Pfizer and its BioNTech partner announced the study.
There have been updates to COVID-19 vaccines to better match omicron in the event that global health authorities require a change.
Despite the fact that Omicron is more likely than earlier variations to cause illness even in persons who have been vaccinated, it is not yet apparent if a change to the vaccine recipe will be requested.
Regulators are taking into consideration: Already, some of the first areas to be hit by an omicron surge are witnessing a decline in the mutant, and it’s impossible to predict whether the next variant that emerges will look like omicron or be entirely different.
The original vaccines continue to provide excellent protection against life-threatening diseases and even death from such diseases. Increased protection and a lower risk of infection have been demonstrated in studies conducted both domestically and abroad.
It’s important to be prepared in the event this protection diminishes over time and to help deal with omicron and novel variations, Pfizer’s vaccine research chief Kathrin Jansen said in a statement.
There will be up to 1,420 participants in the new U.S. research, which will evaluate revised omicron-based vaccines as a booster or primary immunisation. The safety of the new vaccination and how it affects the body’s immune system will be studied by researchers.
As volunteers receive numerous vaccinations and researchers track how long virus-fighting antibodies last after an omicron dose vs. a conventional booster, the whole study results will take months to come in.
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Earlier this month, Pfizer’s CEO told CNBC that the company could have certain omicron-matched dosages ready by the end of March. This does not necessarily imply that the public will be given these doses, even if the corporation deems this type of manufacturing “at risk.”
Additionally, Pfizer and other vaccine manufacturers have prepared and tested various doses to match prior versions, alterations that ultimately were not needed but provided great skill in tweaking the recipe.
For the new study, around 600 volunteers who previously received two doses of the existing Pfizer vaccine will receive either one or two omicron-based booster shots. The Pfizer vaccination will be given to an additional 600 people who have already received three doses of the normal vaccine.
Some unvaccinated participants will be given three doses of the omicron-based vaccination in the trial.
If an omicron-adapted version is needed, Pfizer expects to produce 4 billion vaccine doses in 2022, and the amount is not expected to alter.