COVID-19 vaccine luminaries Pfizer and BioNTech study will examine data from the current booster and consider need for specific Omicron jab

Pfizer and BioNTech have announced the beginning of a clinical study to evaluate the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of an Omicron-based vaccine candidate in healthy adults aged from 18 to 55 years. The study aims to examine different regimens of the current Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or an Omicron-based vaccine.

Furthermore, the study will draw upon some participants from the companies’ phase 3 COVID-19 booster study as part of their continued efforts to address Omicron and determine the potential need for variant-based vaccine.

Real-world and clinical data continue to find that people who are vaccinated–notably, those who have received a booster–maintain a high level of protection against Omicron, particularly against severe COVID-19 and hospitalisation.

Pfizer and BioNTech have previously announced that they anticipate producing four billion doses of their COVID-19 vaccine in 2022 and this is unlikely to change if a specifically-adapted vaccine is required.

As a booster, this vaccine may be administered at least five months following the completion of a primary series of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, or Comirnaty to individuals 12 years of age and older.

“While current research and real-world data show that boosters continue to provide a high level of protection against severe disease and hospitalisation with Omicron, we recognise the need to be prepared in the event this protection wanes over time and to potentially help address Omicron and new variants in the future,” insisted Kathrin Jansen, senior vice president and head of vaccine research & development at Pfizer.

“Staying vigilant against the virus requires us to identify new approaches for people to maintain a high level of protection, and we believe developing and investigating variant-based vaccines, like this one, are essential in our efforts towards this goal,” she added.