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Pfizer says corrected photos of COVID-19 increase omicron protection

Pfizer announced Saturday that setting up the COVID-19 vaccine to better target the omicron variant is safe and working – just days before regulators discuss whether to offer Americans updated booster vaccines this fall.

The vaccines currently in use in the United States still offer strong protection against severe COVID-19 disease and death – especially if people have received a booster dose. But these vaccines target the original coronavirus strain, and their effectiveness against any infection dropped significantly when the super-infectious omicron mutant appeared.

Now with omicron’s even more widely available relatives, the Food and Drug Administration is considering ordering a change in prescription for vaccines made by both Pfizer and rival Moderna in hopes that the modified boosters can better protect against another jump of COVID-19, expected this fall and winter.

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Pfizer and its partner BioNTech have explored two different ways to update their photos – targeting only omicron or a combination booster that adds omicron protection to the original vaccine. They also tested whether to maintain today’s standard dose – 30 micrograms – or double the strength of the injections.

In a study of more than 1,200 middle-aged and older adults who already had three doses of the vaccine, Pfizer said both booster approaches stimulated a significant jump in omicron-fighting antibodies.

“Based on this data, we believe we have two very strong candidates adapted to omicron,” Pfizer CEO Albert Burla said in a statement.

The Pfizer booster with omicron alone elicited the strongest immune response against this variant.

But many experts say combined injections may be the best approach, as they will retain the proven benefits of the original COVID-19 vaccine while adding new protection against omicron. And Pfizer said that a month after people received his combination injection, they had a 9 to 11-fold increase in antibodies fighting omicron. This is more than 1.5 times better than another dose of the original vaccine.

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Importantly, preliminary laboratory studies show that the corrected images also produce antibodies capable of fighting genetically different relatives of omicron, called BA.4 and BA.5, although these levels were not as high.

Moderna recently announced similar test results for its combination vaccine, which scientists call a “bivalent” vaccine.

The studies are not intended to track how well updated boosters prevent COVID-19 cases. Nor is it clear how long any additional protection will last.

But FDA scientific advisers will discuss the data publicly on Tuesday as they battle to recommend a change in vaccine prescriptions – before similar decisions from other countries.

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The Associated Press’s Department of Health and Science is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Pfizer says corrected photos of COVID-19 increase omicron protection

Source link Pfizer says corrected photos of COVID-19 increase omicron protection

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