Leading American drugmaker Pfizer on Wednesday revealed the third dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine neutralizes the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
In a press statement, Pfizer and its german partner BioNTech said that preliminary results of a laboratory study show a booster dose of the vaccine “provides a similar level of neutralizing antibodies to Omicron as is observed after two doses against” the original virus “and other variants that emerged before Omicron.”
“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,” Dr. Ugur Sahin, CEO, and co-founder of BioNTech said in a statement.
“Broad vaccination and booster campaigns around the world could help us to better protect people everywhere and to get through the winter season,” Sahin added.
The company claimed among those who had received just two doses of the shot they observed a “more than a 25-fold reduction in neutralization titers against the Omicron variant compared to” the original strain, referred to as the “wild-type.”
Pfizer said this finding suggests “that two doses of [Pfizer’s vaccine] 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,” the companies explained.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said their studies suggest that the best protection against Omicron is the third dose.
“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,” Bourla said in a statement.
“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,” Boula added.