At a time when the world is staring at COVID-19 third wave, there is some positive news. Within two to three months, we are likely to have a vaccine that will specifically target the Omicron variant. The vaccine is being developed by Pfizer. The company’s chief executive officer Albert Bourla said that they are working towards a redesigned COVID-19 vaccine that will in the ‘most likely scenario’ target the Omicron variant. Speaking at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, Bourla said that Pfizer is working on this vaccine with BioNTech SE.
Explaining the project, Bourla said that the companies are working on a vaccine that will target both an Omicron variant and also developing a shot that will be a combination of both the previous vaccine as well as vaccine targeted at the ‘variant of concern.’
Bourla expressed confidence that the company would be ready to file for approval for the new vaccine and also start producing it as soon as March.
The Omicron variant, which was first detected in early November 2021, has been designated as a ‘variant of concern’ by the World Health Organization (WHO). This variant is spreading across the world and is infecting even those who are fully vaccinated.
While assuring that the vaccine will be ready by March, Bourla also said that he is not sure whether the world will need it.
According to studies conducted in the United Kingdom, available vaccines of Pfizer and Moderna are only around 10 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic infection caused by the Omicron variant 20 weeks after the second dose. The study also highlighted that the regular two doses of these vaccines are capable of providing decent protection against severe effects of COVID-19.
The United Kingdom Health Security Agency also said that giving booster doses is an effective strategy to prevent a symptomatic infection.