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Pfizer (PFE) COVID-19 Booster Gives Protection Against Omicron

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Pfizer (PFE - Free Report) and BioNTech (BNTX - Free Report) announced data from a pseudovirus neutralization test, which demonstrated that three doses of their COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty (BNT162b2), neutralizes the Omicron variant.

The three doses of the vaccine include two doses 21 days apart during the initial vaccination regimen, followed by a booster dose six months after the second dose.

Data from the pseudovirus test also demonstrated that neutralization titers following the first two doses reduced by more than 25-fold, on average, against the Omicron variant compared to the wild-type coronavirus. The administration of the third dose, however, increased the neutralizing antibody titers by 25-fold against the Omicron variant.

Pfizer and BioNTech stated that the administration of the third dose of Comirnaty provided a level of protection against the Omicron variant that was comparable to the level achieved against the wild-type virus following the initial two-dose regimen.

The  companies believe that two doses of the vaccine will provide protection against severe forms of the disease caused by the Omicron variant as the mutation in the variant did not affect the vast majority of epitopes in the virus targeted by the vaccine-induced T cells.

Pfizer and BioNTech are currently monitoring the real-world effectiveness of their COVID-19 vaccine against the Omicron. The companies are confident that they will be able to deliver an Omicron-specific booster dose, if an upgraded vaccine is needed to increase the level and duration of protection, by March next year. They expect to produce four billion doses of primary or booster doses of Comirnaty in 2022.

Pfizer and BioNTech’s BNT162b2/Comirnaty is approved in the United States as a two-dose regimen for protection against COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine is also authorized for emergency use in individuals five years of age and older. A single booster dose of the vaccine was granted emergency use authorization (“EUA”) last month for use in all adults.

This year so far, Pfizer’s shares have risen 39.7% compared with an increase of 13.1% for the industry.

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Meanwhile, the booster dose of another COVID-19 vaccine-maker, Moderna (MRNA - Free Report) , was also granted EUA for use in all adults last month.

Moderna is also developing an Omicron-specific booster candidate. Currently, Moderna is testing sera from participants of 100-microgram booster studies to see if the dose provides neutralizing protection against Omicron.

J&J (JNJ - Free Report) is another player with an authorized COVID-19 vaccine booster in the United States. JNJ is testing the effectiveness of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine against the Omicron variant. Data from an independent study demonstrated that the administration of the booster dose of J&J’s vaccine elicited neutralizing and binding antibody to the comparable level after a booster dose of Comirnaty. Moreover, J&J’s booster dose also resulted in a greater increase in T-cell responses compared to Comirnaty.

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