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Studies show that the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine may be less effective against Omicron

According to a South African study, the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine may be less effective against Omicron than previous coronavirus strains, but early on how jabs can tolerate new variants. Or you can get a glimpse of it incompletely.

Researchers at the African Institute of Health reported that the loss of immune protection from the vaccine was “extensive but incomplete.” First published study It dropped a jab against Omicron.

Researchers took 14 plasma samples from 12 participants who received two bioNTech / Pfizer jabs to test their ability to neutralize omicrons.

Laboratory experiments showed that Omicron infection reduced virus blocking antibodies by a factor of 41 compared to the original strain detected in Wuhan almost two years ago.

Omicron also avoided antibody neutralization.[ly]The authors of the study found it more than the beta version, which was previously predominant in South Africa.

However, Alex Segal, head of research at the Durban-based laboratory, said Omicron did not completely avoid the vaccine, despite a significant reduction in antibody production.

With a much more positive finding, researchers report that in addition to being double vaccinated, people previously infected with Covid-19 retained “relatively high levels” of antibody protection. bottom. It “is likely to provide protection from the serious illness of Omicron infection,” they added.

Preliminary results follow the rapid spread of Omicron variants since they were first identified in South Africa in late November, raising concerns among health experts that existing vaccines may be avoided. I am raising it.

BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said in response to the South African survey announcement that the company will release its own data later this week. “I am more Optimistic“He told NBC.

Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said the results suggest that vaccine manufacturers probably need to develop a new class of Omicron-specific boosters.

“It looks like what we expect, along with many breakthrough cases of vaccines already reported at Omicron,” he added.

Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology at Imperial College London, said South African studies raised expectations that “boosted people are usually safe.”

According to Altman, the study showed that previously infected double-jab people were “all in a safe zone,” and said the group was, in a sense, comparable to those who received three doses.

Jacob Granville, a computational immunoscientist and founder of the US treatment company Centivax, suggests that most double-vaccinated people are more susceptible to infection from Omicron. Said.

“reason [public health officials] What are you asking people to boost? .. .. [double-vaccinated] People have a little antibody protection, but most people aren’t enough to effectively neutralize the virus, “he added.

Still, T cells, which target a wider area of ​​the virus than antibodies, will allow double-vaccinated people to “maintain protection against serious disease,” he added. rice field.

Morgan Stanley said data from the African Institute suggest that vaccine efficacy for Omicron’s symptomatic disease is significantly reduced to less than 50%.

Matthew Harrison, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, said: “While waiting for more data from Moderna and Pfizer, we believe that the potential for variant-specific boosters will increase.

Last week, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel warning New variants are likely to result in a “material reduction” in vaccine efficacy.

Separately, researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden said they observed a “very variable” loss of neutralization to Omicron, with some samples “showing little loss.” For example, some have shown quite a few samples.

Omicron is worse than Delta because the average loss of neutralizing power is “lower than feared,” but “not as extreme as expected,” said Benmrel, one of the investigators. .. Researchers used a pseudovirus designed to look like a new strain in an experiment.

What they had in common with South African and Swedish studies was that “neutralization is not completely lost in all samples, which is positive.”

Neutralization assays cannot completely predict whether a vaccine will be effective. Earlier on Tuesday, World Health Organization vaccine director Kate O’Brien said, “We already know that the performance of antibodies against mutants is one piece of information,” but it is more complete in terms of efficacy. Research will not be completed for a while. ..

Additional report by Peter Wells in New York

Studies show that the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine may be less effective against Omicron

Source link Studies show that the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine may be less effective against Omicron

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