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Pfizer says omicron injections significantly boosted antibodies against BA.5 subvariant in early human data


Jakub Porzycki | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Pfizer and his German partner BioNTech On Thursday, their new omicron boosters significantly increased protective antibodies against the dominant omicron BA.5 subvariant for adults in the first direct human data published on the new vaccines.

The study looked at blood samples taken from 40 people between the ages of 18 and 55 and 40 people over the age of 55 who received the omicron booster. Both age groups saw a substantial increase in antibodies that prevent the BA.5 subvariant from invading human cells, the companies said.

Pfizer also compared 40 people over the age of 55 who received the omicron booster with 40 people in the same age group who received a fourth dose of the first-generation vaccine. Participants who received the first-generation vaccine saw a limited increase in antibodies against BA.5, the companies said.

The time between the administration of the third dose and the booster of omicron was approximately 11 months, while the time between the third dose and the fourth dose of the first generation vaccine was six months.

Early data indicates that the safety profile of the new boosters is the same as that of the original vaccine, the companies said. Pfizer and BioNTech said they would release more immune response data on the injections in the coming weeks.

“These early data suggest that our bivalent vaccine should provide better protection against currently circulating variants than the original vaccine and potentially help curb future surges of cases this winter,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement. communicated.

US health authorities have cleared Pfizer’s omicron boosters for anyone age 5 and older. The shots target both the BA.5 sub-variant as well as the original version of Covid that first appeared in China more than two years ago. First-generation vaccines were developed only against the first strain of the virus.

White House health officials have said the new vaccines are expected to provide much better protection against omicron than first-generation vaccines as the country faces a possible winter surge. First-generation vaccines no longer offer significant protection against mild infections and illnesses because the virus has mutated so much.

The FDA cleared omicron injections without direct human data on their performance against omicron BA.5, which currently causes most infections in the United States. The agency instead relied on human data from a similar shot developed by Pfizer against the original version of omicron, called BA.1, as well as data from animal studies that directly examined the performance of the shots against BA.5.

The FDA moved quickly to roll out the vaccines this fall in an effort to head off a surge of infections. As a result, Pfizer did not have time to collect clinical trial data. Dr. Peter Marks, head of the FDA’s vaccines division, said the agency licensed omicron injections using the same process it uses every year to update flu vaccines, which normally don’t rely on either more about human data.

CNBC Health and Science

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