Pfizer and BioNTech are developing a booster shot for the companies’ coronavirus vaccine which would bolster protection from the delta variant of the virus, according to an announcement on Thursday.
The delta variant is a form of the coronavirus which is more transmissible and cannot be combatted as easily by antibodies which have been made due to previous infection by other strains of the virus.
Pfizer to combat delta variant with new vaccine booster shot
The pharmaceutical giants continue to support the original vaccine against the coronavirus they put out, claiming that a booster shot using the same formula would also keep people safe from the delta variant.
They announced that a clinical trial using the current Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as a booster is ongoing and that the results would be peer reviewed and published in an academic journal.
However, the companies also said that they recognize the growing concern that the delta variant has caused around the world and that they hope to develop a vaccine specifically for it.
“While Pfizer and BioNTech believe a third dose of (their current vaccine) has the potential to preserve the highest levels of protective efficacy against all currently known variants including Delta, the companies are remaining vigilant and are developing an updated version of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine that targets the full spike protein of the Delta variant.
“The first batch of the mRNA for the trial has already been manufactured. The Companies anticipate the clinical studies to begin in August, subject to regulatory approvals,” the companies said in a press release.
The delta variant has been a growing cause for concern around the world. The variant has already become the dominant strain of the virus in the US, and Greece has been experiencing a huge rise in cases due to its increased transmissibility.
Vaccine efficacy decreases 6 months after vaccination
Pfizer and BioNTech also stated that the vaccine they developed to fight the coronavirus likely requires a booster shot six months after it is originally administered in order to keep recipients as protected as possible.
This booster is to help keep the recipient protected from both the delta variant and from other strains of the virus. The companies can now also reference real world examples when it comes to the need for booster shots thanks to the Israel Ministry of Health which has kept a close eye on efficacy following vaccination.
“As seen in real world data released from the Israel Ministry of Health, vaccine efficacy in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease has declined six months post-vaccination, although efficacy in preventing serious illnesses remains high,” the companies said in a statement.
“That is why we have said, and we continue to believe that it 2 is likely, based on the totality of the data we have to date, that a third dose may be needed within 6 to 12 months after full vaccination,” Pfizer and BioNTech continued.
Many researchers are also claiming that it is likely that people will need to get a new dose of a coronavirus vaccine, regardless of which company manufactured it, annually in order to keep the coronavirus at bay.