A new version of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine will be ready within 100 days if the new variant Omicron is found to be resistant, according to the company.
The new variant was first discovered in South Africa. The virus has since spread to several other countries, including Israel and Belgium, resulting in travel restrictions across Europe, Asia, and North America, according to Insider’s Aria Bendix. Two cases of the variant have been found in the UK, according to a health official on Saturday.
After receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, the variant may have multiple mutations that allow it to evade antibodies that have formed in the body. Variants could spread more easily among vaccinated people because of the mutations.
As a “variant of concern,” Omicron has been designated as one of the most dangerous coronaviruses by the World Health Organization. The last one to receive the label was Delta, the variant that surged throughout the summer in the United States.
Existing COVID-19 vaccines may not be able to protect against the variant. However, vaccine producers such as Pfizer are already evaluating their options in this regard.
Earlier this year, Pfizer and BioNTech took steps to ensure that the mRNA vaccine could be modified within six weeks and shipped within 100 days in the event of an escape variant, according to a statement from the pharmaceutical company.
If the new strain is resistant to the company’s current vaccine, Pfizer expects to know within two weeks, a spokesperson for the company told Reuters.
“In the next two weeks, at the earliest, we should have results from the laboratory tests. Our vaccine may need to be tweaked if B.1.1.529 spreads around the world, and these data will help us determine whether or not this is an escape variant “According to the spokesperson,
To counter the Omicron’s potential threat, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are preparing their own responses.
In the event that Moderna’s current vaccine is found to be ineffective against the Omicron, the company plans to test a variant-specific booster.
“We have said from the beginning that as we work to defeat the pandemic, we must be proactive as the virus changes. The Omicron variant mutations are concerning, and we have been working as quickly as possible to implement our strategy to address this variant for several days now “Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, made the statement in a press release.
To see if it can protect against an Omicron variant, Johnson & Johnson is conducting clinical trials on its own vaccine.
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