Pfizer and BioNTech said on Tuesday that they will start a human trial to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of a vaccine that has been modified to target the COVID-19 omicron variant.
“Vaccines continue to offer strong protection against severe disease caused by Omicron. Yet, emerging data indicate vaccine-induced protection against infection and mild to moderate disease wanes more rapidly than was observed with prior strains,” Ugur Sahin, CEO, and co-founder of BioNTech, said in a statement.
The study will include 1,420 adults who will be divided into multiple groups based on their vaccination status.
Those who received the two primary doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine three to six months ago will be in one group. Those who received the two-dose immunization and a third booster dose three to six months ago will be in the second group. The third group will be those who have never been vaccinated against COVID-19.
As per Thehill, Pfizer also announced that 4 billion doses of its original vaccine had been ordered for 2022, and that production will continue regardless of trial outcomes because it continues to provide high protection against severe disease and death from COVID-19, including the omicron variant.
“We recognize the need to be prepared in the event this protection wanes over time and to potentially help address Omicron and new variants in the future,” Kathrin Jansen, senior vice president and head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer, added.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla had stated earlier in the month that an omicron-specific vaccine would likely be ready in March.