Pfizer-BioNTech launches clinical trial of vaccine against Omicron

(Washington) The Pfizer-BioNTech alliance has started recruiting for a clinical trial which aims to test, on adults aged 55 and under, the safety and immune response of their vaccine against COVID-19 which specifically targets the variant Omicron, the two companies announced on Tuesday.

Posted at 6:49 a.m.

The boss of the American laboratory Pfizer, Albert Bourla, said in early January that the pharmaceutical giant could be ready to request authorizations for the new vaccine, which targets this variant of COVID-19, as early as March.

While current data indicates that booster doses of the original vaccine protect against severe forms of Omicron, the company prefers to err on the side of caution, Pfizer head of vaccines Kathrin Jansen said in the statement.

“We recognize the importance of being prepared in the event that this protection wanes over time, and to help address Omicron and other variants in the future,” she said.

For the CEO of the German company BioNTech Ugur Sahin, the protection of the initial vaccine against mild or moderate forms of COVID-19 seems to disappear more quickly against Omicron.

“This study takes place within the framework of our scientific approach which aims to develop vaccines targeted against the variants which manage to develop similar levels of protection against Omicron, as for the variants which appeared earlier, but with a longer duration of protection. protection,” he explained.

The clinical trial involves 1,420 people between the ages of 18 and 55.

The trial does not include people over the age of 55 because the purpose of the study is to measure the immune response of participants, not to estimate the effectiveness of the vaccine, a doorman told AFP. -word of Pfizer.

The trial participants are divided into three groups.

The first includes people who received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the 90 to 180 days prior, who will receive one or two injections of the new tested serum.

The second is made up of individuals who received their third dose, or booster, during this same period and who will receive either a new dose of the initial vaccine or a dose of the vaccine designed against Omicron.

The third includes people who have not received any vaccine against COVID-19 and who will receive three doses of the one that specifically targets Omicron.

The initial vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech was the first authorized in Western countries, in December 2020.

Its design, based on messenger RNA technology, allows it to be relatively easy to modify and update to follow the evolution of mutations specific to new variants.

Several countries have started to see a drop in cases due to the wave caused by Omicron, the most transmissible variant detected at this stage, even if the number of contaminations in the world continues to climb.

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