Health

Omicron can partially evade Pfizer vaccine, early study suggests

New coronavirus variant likely to be more transmissible but less severe

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus could partially bypass the two-dose protection of PfizerBioNTech’s Covid19 vaccine, said the research director of a laboratory at the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa.

However, the study showed that the blood of people who received two doses of the vaccine and had an infection in the past was mainly able to neutralize the variant, suggesting that booster doses of the vaccine might help fend off the infection. Alex Sigal, a professor at the Africa Health Research Institute, said on Twitter that there had been “a very large drop” in neutralization of the Omicron variant compared to a previous strain of Covid.19

The lab tested the blood from 12 people who were were vaccinated with two doses of the PfizerBioNTech vaccine, according to a manuscript posted on his lab’s website. The preliminary manuscript data has not yet been peer reviewed. Blood from five out of six people who have been vaccinated and previously infected with Covid19 sti, I will neutralize the Omicron variant, the manuscript says. “These results are better than I expected. The more antibodies you get, the more likely you are to be protected by Omicron,” Sigal said on Twitter.

He said the lab had no tested the variant against the blood of people who had received a booster dose, as they are not yet available in South Africa: According to the manuscript, the laboratory observed a 41-fold drop in the levels of neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron variant.

Less serious Dr. Anthony Fauci, an American infectious disease expert, said on Tuesday that preliminary evidence indicates that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is likely to have a higher degree of transmissibility but is less severe. He said the United States was carrying out its own tests to determine the protection of current variant vaccines and expected results next week. Umer Raffat, analyst at Evercore ISI, cautioned against over-reading in a single study, noting that there was significant variability in the measurement of drops in antibody levels in previous lab studies. wait for other studies to draw a mosaic, ”he said. – Reuters

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