Pfizer begins clinical trial of vaccine for Ômicron

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The study will look at how the modified vaccine should work in people who have not been vaccinated and in those who have received both doses and the booster.

Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Tuesday that they have started a clinical trial to test a new version of their vaccine, produced specifically to combat the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.

According to the companies, the trial will enroll up to 1,420 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 55 and will assess whether the Ômicron vaccine is safe and generates a strong immune response.

The study will also look at how well the modified vaccine works in people who have not been vaccinated, as well as in people who have already had the two doses and the booster.

Counting on volunteers in the United States (USA), test participants will be divided into three groups: people vaccinated with the two doses of the vaccine, people fully vaccinated and with the booster dose and people not vaccinated.

“While current research and worldwide data show that boosters continue to provide a high level of protection against serious illness and hospitalization from Ômicron, we recognize the need to be prepared should that protection wane over time and potentially help address Ômicron and new variants in the future,” said Kathrin U. Jansen, Pfizer’s head of vaccine research and development.

How will the clinical trial work?

According to the company’s statement, the test was divided into three cohorts. The first group consists of people who received both doses of the current Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine between 90 and 180 days before enrollment. This group will receive one or two doses of the Ômicron-based immunizer.

Participants in the second group, who must have received three doses of the vaccine between 90 and 180 days before the start of testing, will receive one dose of the current immunizer or one based on Ômicron.

The third group will have people who have not taken any dose of any vaccine against COVID-19. Participants in this cohort will receive three doses of the vaccine based on the new variant.

“This study is part of our science-based approach to developing a variant-based vaccine that achieves a similar level of protection against Omicron as it did with previous variants, but with a longer duration of protection,” explains Professor Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech.

According to the statement, while the companies have previously announced that they expect to produce four billion doses of the vaccine by 2022, that capacity is unlikely to change if an adapted vaccine is needed.

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