By Chris King • 26 June 2022 • 20:22
Image of a laboratory technician.
Credit: [email protected]_Group
In a statement released on Saturday, June 25, Pfizer and BioNTech announced the results of their vaccines that have been adapted to the omicron variant. According to Albert Bourla, the president and CEO of Pfizer, these are two “very strong” adapted vaccines.
One is monovalent, and the other bivalent, he stated, which “elicit a substantially higher immune response against omicron than we have seen to date”.
In the phase 2 trial, the laboratory tested the effectiveness of these omicron-adapted vaccines in 1,234 people over 56 years of age. According to Pfizer, these vaccines “elicited substantially higher neutralising antibody responses against omicron BA.1 compared to the company’s current Covid vaccine”.
Likewise, the pharmaceutical company points out that both vaccines redesigned for omicron “were well tolerated in the participants”. Dr Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of [email protected]_Group, explained that these omicron-adapted vaccines “significantly improve variant-specific antibody neutralisation responses”.
This variant has not stopped evolving and has given rise to multiple subvariants, also called lineages. As concluded in a recent study by a team of doctors from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in the US city of Boston, three of them, officially known as BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5, substantially escape the neutralising antibodies induced due to both vaccination and previous infection.
Pfizer and BioNTech have already detailed that they are “collecting data from additional studies on BA.4/BA.5 omicron”. As a result, it is not ruled out that they also adapt their vaccine against these two subvariants, which caused the seventh wave of Covid in countries such as Spain, where there has been a very significant uptick in infections in recent weeks.
After the publication of these promising results, the next step is to obtain the approval of the corresponding regulatory health authorities of each country. In Europe, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is already reviewing in real-time an updated version of the Moderna pharmaceutical vaccine. This will be a dose that targets two specific variants of the virus: the original and omicron.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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