Pfizer says studies show 3 doses of its Covid vaccine protect against Omicron variant
It says three vaccines is the "best course of action" to stop the virus.
Pfizer has said lab studies show that three doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is effective against the new Omicron variant of the virus.
The company announced on Wednesday that tests showed a booster dose of its vaccine neutralised Omicron, with the initial two doses appearing significantly less effective against it than three doses.
The tests showed the third dose increased the level of so-called neutralising antibodies against Omicron by 25-fold, the company said.
The research, which reportedly used blood serum from vaccinated people, showed the third dose generated around the same level of antibodies against Omicron that a second dose generated against other variants.
The company's test results have not yet been peer-reviewed.
This marked the first official statement from a vaccine manufacturer regarding the efficacy of currently available jabs against the new variant.
“Although two doses of the vaccine may still offer protection against severe disease caused by the Omicron strain, it’s clear from these preliminary data that protection is maximised with a third dose of our vaccine,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.
“Ensuring as many people as possible are fully vaccinated with the first two dose series and a booster remains the best course of action to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”
Pfizer-BioNTech is also currently developing an Omicron-specific version of their Covid-19 vaccine, which it said will be available by March 2022.