Data released by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech on Wednesday showed that a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine neutralises the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The study found that people who received only two shots of the vaccine showed more than a 25-fold reduction in antibodies against the Omicron variant compared to the original strain of Covid-19. On the other hand, those who received a third dose had similar number of antibodies against Omicron as against the original variant.
Pfizer and BioNTech, however, said that people vaccinated with two doses may still be protected against severe cases of infections caused due to the Omicron variant.
Albert Bourla, the chief executive officer of Pfizer, said that the best course of action against Covid-19 was to vaccinate people with the two dose-regimen and a booster shot.
“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 improved with a third dose of our vaccine,” he said.
Earlier, the World Health Organization had said that there was no evidence to support the requirement for new vaccines specifically against the Omicron variant, according to Reuters. However, the two companies have reportedly said that they will continue efforts to develop such a vaccine.
On November 25, Pfizer and BioNTech began work towards an Omicron-specific Covid-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, United States President Joe Biden on Wednesday said that the data released by the two companies was encouraging.
“This reinforces what my medical advisors have been emphasizing: that boosters give you the highest protection yet,” he said. “Anyone who is eligible and has not been boosted should go get a booster today.”
Last month, the United States had allowed booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines for all adults. Many countries in Europe have also approved booster doses.