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Pfizer opens COVID injection study updated to match omicron – The Denver Post

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Pfizer opens COVID injection study updated to match omicron – The Denver Post

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Pfizer has started a study comparing its original COVID-19 vaccine with specially adjusted doses to match the highly contagious omicron variant.

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech announced the study on Tuesday.

COVID-19 vaccine makers have updated their vaccines to better match omicron in case global health authorities decide the change is necessary.

Omicron is more likely than previous variants to cause infection even in people who have been vaccinated, but it is not yet clear that a change in the vaccine recipe will be ordered. Among the issues regulators are evaluating: Some of the first places to see an omicron surge are already seeing mutant decline – and there’s no way of knowing if the next variant that arises will be omicron-like or totally different.

The original vaccines still provide good protection against serious illness and death. Studies in the United States and elsewhere have clearly shown that adding a booster dose enhances this protection and improves the chances of avoiding a milder infection.

“We recognize the need to be prepared in case this protection wanes over time and to potentially help address omicron and new variants in the future,” said Kathrin Jansen, head of vaccine research at Pfizer. , in a press release.

The new US study is recruiting up to 1,420 healthy adults, ages 18 to 55, to test updated omicron-based vaccines for use as a booster or for primary vaccinations. Researchers will look at the safety of the modified vaccine and how it boosts the immune system compared to the original shots.

The full results of the study will take several months, as volunteers will receive multiple doses of the vaccine – and researchers will measure how long anti-virus antibodies remain at high levels after an omicron-matched dose compared to the regular booster .

Pfizer’s CEO told CNBC earlier this month that the company could have omicron-matching doses ready as early as March. But doing what the company calls “at-risk” manufacturing doesn’t mean those doses will be rolled out to the public. Pfizer and other vaccine makers also prepared and tested experimental doses to match previous variants, changes that were ultimately unnecessary but offered valuable practice in fine-tuning the recipe.

Pfizer opens COVID injection study updated to match omicron – The Denver Post

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