The preliminary data from lab studies shows Pfizer Inc’s (NYSE: PFE) COVID-19 vaccine that it developed in collaboration with Germany’s BioNTech is just as effective against the new, heavily mutated variant of the Coronavirus.
Omicron can’t escape a booster shot
In an announcement on Wednesday, the pharmaceutical giant said a booster dose of its vaccine propels a 25-fold increase in neutralizing antibodies to offer similar protection against Omicron as two doses did against prior variants.
According to CEO Albert Bourla, the initial two doses were also shown to offer some immunity, but a booster shot was recommended for added protection.
Although two doses of the vaccine may still offer protection against severe disease caused by the Omicron strain, it’s cleared that protection is improved with the third dose of our vaccine.
Pfizer shares are up more than 1.0% in premarket trading.
Work on an Omicron-specific vaccine will continue
Pfizer and BioNTech started working on an Omicron-specific vaccine late last month, right after the new variant was first spotted in South Africa.
The New York-based company confirmed this morning that it will continue developing a new vaccine. Just in case it’s needed, the Omicron targeting vaccine will be available by March.
The news comes only hours after data from a study in South Africa said the level of neutralizing antibodies against Omicron after two doses was about 40-fold down but suggested a booster might work. Pfizer’s data on Wednesday confirms the hypothesis.
The U.S. Wall Street indices are pointing to a higher open this morning on the good news. The benchmark S&P 500 index is up nearly 27% this year.
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