Pfizer vaccination data shows a 95% effectiveness against the COVID-19 infection. The vaccine shots are administered twice to a person to get full protection from the infection. Despite this, Pfizer is now looking at the consequences of a third dose which seems like a booster shot.
On Thursday, the drugmaker announced that a booster dose is under study among those people who had received their first dose of the vaccine at least six months ago.
Pfizer CER Albert Bourla said that a third booster dose of their vaccine is expected to boost the immune response to even higher levels. This, in turn, will offer better protection to the vaccinated population against the coronavirus.
According to the claims made by Bourla, the third booster shot can raise the antibody response against the coronavirus to about 10 to 20 folds.
Pfizer To Run Trials On COVID-19 Booster Shots
A new study is now launched to test the consequences and results of the third dose in people who have already received the vaccination. The study will look at the efficacy and safety of the booster dose. The subjects are divided into two age groups, from 18 to 55and from 65 to 85.
The participants are the people who were among the first to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination shots. These are the people who already took part in the initial trials of the COVID-19 vaccine that began last year in May.
The initial trials of the two-shot vaccine were done last year. The vaccine doses needed to be administered at a gap of about 3 weeks from the first dose. The vaccine maker still recommends this.
The third shot is exactly the same that was received by the volunteers last year during the initial trials.
Not only a booster dose is being studied by the company, but they are also researching if any modified version of the vaccine will work well not only against the old stains of the virus but also on the recent variants.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is found to be effective against the UK variant of the coronavirus. But it was only a little effective against the South African variant. The new study into this will test if the modified vaccines can work with similar efficacy against the South African variant as well.
The Food and Drug Administrator has issued guidelines on Monday asking the drug makers to keep up with the mutating virus. They even hinted not to go for lengthy clinical trials to prove the safety of the modified vaccine.
According to FDA, the SARS-Cov2 virus is indeed mutating, and to tackle the threat of these newer variants; existing vaccines need tweaking. The FDA does not want the public to wait for months if the old vaccines become less effective against any emerging variant.
According to Bourla, like the flu shots that are received every year by identifying the type of the flu strain circulating in the environment, the COVID-19 shots will be annual too. The vaccines need to be modified and tweaked every year as the virus is also mutating.
This is the main reason to study a booster dose and its effectiveness against COVID-19. Experts suggest that the pandemic will surely end, but the COVID-19 infection will stay. So, studies and trials on vaccinations ought to be continued.
As per the evidence so far, Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is quite effective against the UK, Brazil and South African strains. But the company is preparing themselves to be capable of tweaking their vaccines within 100 days if a new variant emerges again.
Moderna had also started similar trials for a third booster dose against the COVID-19 infection. They are also working on targeting the newer variants circulating in the environment.