On Tuesday, United States-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer and BioNTech, its German partner, announced that they started a clinical trial of the latest version of their Coronavirus vaccines specifically intended to protect against the highly infectious Omicron variant the COVID-19. In a joint statement, both companies stated that they would test the new vaccine as both primary and booster doses in over fourteen hundred healthy adult American volunteers between eighteen and fifty-five.
Pfizer announced to start a clinical trial of the latest version of their vaccine, mainly designed combat Coronavirus Omicron variant. Drug companies will test the new vaccine as both initial and an additional shot in over fourteen hundred healthy adult volunteers from 18 to 55. pic.twitter.com/uRfa7n0zxA
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Vaccine researchers will separate the volunteers into three groups. The first volunteer group, which received the primary two shots of the current vaccine, will receive one or two shots of the new Omicron-specified vaccine. Furthermore, the second group, who received the first two shots, including a booster of the original, will receive one shot of either the current type or the revised version, while the third group of volunteers will be consist of unvaccinated adults who will be vaccinated with three shots of the Omicron-specified vaccine.
The clinical trial of the Omicron-specified Pfizer vaccine comes amid the release of a new study that suggests antibodies produced by an additional shot of the original dose still provide robust protection four months after the final dose. Moreover, the results were posted online Saturday and still not published peer-reviewed in an official scientific journal.
Use of two Antibody Treatments Halted
In an associated matter, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Monday that it is stopping using two COVID-19 antibody treatments because of their incompetence against the new variant. The national drug agency said it would limit the emergency use authorization (EUA) granted in connection with Eli Lilly and Regeneron’s treatments.
The decision to pull the two Pfizer Unveils Omicron-specific Coronavirus vaccine trial treatments leaves hospitals, health advisers, and doctors in the U.S. with only one antibody treatment of American drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology, its partner, along with antiviral pills of Pfizer and Merck – all of which are in short supply all over the country and very difficult to find.
Omicron Variant New Strain
Scientists across the world are keeping a vigilant eye on a new strain of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the COVID-19 that has now been detected in over forty countries. The new strain, BA.2, identified in the United Kingdom, Singapore, Sweden, India, the United States, Norway, and Denmark. In addition, Denmark health officials say that the BA.2 version displaced the original version of the Omicron variant, named BA.1, and now accounts for around half of all new cases in the U.S.
According to genomic testing information of the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID), the online database Outbreak.info says BA.2 detected in forty-nine countries. Additionally, researchers nicknamed it a stealth Omicron because its genetic characteristics make it tougher to detect through PCR tests. Thus far, there are not enough statistics to find out if the new version is more infectious and more lethal than its highly-infectious parent.