Three doses of Pfizer vaccine neutralize Omicron variant, two 'not sufficient'

Pfizer has reported that three doses of its vaccine have been shown to neutralize the new Omicron variant, while two doses ‘may not be sufficient’ to protect against the latest coronavirus strain.

Preliminary laboratory studies showed that ‘two doses show significantly reduced neutralization titers’, Pfizer and BioNTech, its partner in developing the jab, stated on Wednesday morning.

Blood samples from people who had taken two shots but not the booster ‘did exhibit, on average, more than a 25-fold reduction in neutralization titers against the Omicron variant’, the companies stated. That indicates that two doses of its vaccine ‘may not be sufficient to protect against infection with the Omicron variant’.

Meanwhile, data showed that ‘a more robust protection may be achieved by a third dose’ which ‘increases the antibody titers by 25-fold’.

In essence, the booster restored antibodies to levels observed in individuals with two doses against the original coronavirus strain.

The companies have continued to work on developing a vaccine specific to protecting against the Omicron variant. They expect to have it out by March ‘in the event that an adaption is needed to further increase the level and duration of protection’, they stated.

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