Pfizer’s statement is the first officially backed up by data from a pharmaceutical company that makes the vaccine, and confirms data from a preliminary South African study that noted how the new variant could attenuate the immune response – albeit the vaccine combination. and antibodies would be effective
BioNtech and Pfizer announced Wednesday, December 8 that three doses of vaccine against Covid are able – according to the data in their possession, and related to laboratory tests – to neutralize the Omicron variant. In the first official statement, supported by data, published by a pharmaceutical company engaged in the production of the vaccine, it is explained that two doses of the vaccine show, against the new variant, a “significantly lower protection” guaranteed by antibodies against contagion: the third dose, however, multiplies the antibodies against the disease by 25, and according to the first available data, two doses would still be able to protect against severe symptoms of the disease. The company also said it was ready – should it become necessary – to make a specific vaccine against Omicron by next March.
The data of the report confirm what had emerged, a few hours earlier, from a preliminary study (which will be published in preprint on MedRxiv in the coming days and therefore has not yet been peer reviewed) conducted in South Africa.
The study shows that the blood of subjects vaccinated with two doses and already infected with Sars-Cov-2 is mostly able to neutralize the variant, suggesting that booster doses of the vaccine could help fend off infection.
The study would also have found the Omicron variant of the coronavirus may partially circumvent the protection afforded by two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
«The data is very, very preliminary and does not seem to me to raise any alarm», comments the professor Mario Clerici, full professor of Immunology at the State University of Milan and scientific director of the Don Gnocchi Foundation. “The vaccine appears to cover better against Omicron those who have already been infected with other variants. And these are known data: the disease elicits an overall better immune response than vaccine. In summary: infection plus vaccine is better than vaccine alone. The booster however it seems to protect sufficiently ».
Leading the study was a group of researchers from the Africa Health Research Institute, led by teacher Alex Sigal.
As reported by the New York Times and by the Reuters agency
, Professor Sigal and his colleagues used antibodies from six people who received the Pfizer vaccine without having previously had Covid-19. They also analyzed the antibodies of six other people who had been infected before getting the Pfizer vaccine.
The researchers found that antibodies from all volunteers performed worse against Omicron compared to an earlier version of the coronavirus. All in all, l
to power of their antibodies against Omicron decreased
about a fortieth of the level observed when tested with an older version of the virus. That low level of antibodies may not protect against Omicron infections.
But Sigal himself admitted that the figure could be changed after his laboratory has conducted more experiments. “These results are better than I expected. P.the more antibodies you have, the better chance you will have of being protected by Omicron»Wrote Sigal on Twitter. The lab did not test the variant on people who had received a ‘booster’ dose, because it is not yet available in South Africa.
According to Reuters, data from the South African preliminary study do not indicate that the vaccine is less able to prevent serious illness or death.
For its part Michael Ryan, WHO emergency manager told AFP that “There is no indication that the Omicron variant causes more severe forms of Covid-19” – a statement in line with the first hospital data from South Africa.
The Omicron variant, first detected in southern Africa, has triggered a global alert for another wave of infections, with cases reported in over 24 countries, from Japan to the United States.
On November 26, the World Health Organization classified Omicron as a “variant of concern”but said that there is no evidence to support the need for new vaccines specifically designed to deal with it. There is still no significant data on how vaccines from Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and other drug manufacturers are resisting the new variant. All manufacturers, including Pfizer and BioNTech, are expected to release their data within a few weeks.
December 8, 2021 (change December 8, 2021 | 13:45)
© breaking latest news