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Only Partial Protection Against Omicron By Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine, Finds New Study


Only Partial Protection Against Omicron By Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine, Finds New Study
According to the research leader of a laboratory at the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa, the Omicron variant of the coronavirus can partially circumvent protection from two doses of Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine.
Nonetheless, the study found that blood from persons who had received two doses of the vaccination and had a past illness could mostly neutralise the variant, indicating that booster doses of the vaccine might assist to prevent infection.
According to Alex Sigal, a professor at the Africa Health Research Institute, there was a "quite big decline" in neutralisation of the Omicron variant compared to an earlier strain of Covid-19.
According to a document posted on his lab's website, the lab analysed blood from 12 persons who had received two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The manuscript's preliminary data has not yet been peer reviewed.
According to the paper, blood from five out of six patients who had been immunised as well as previously infected with Covid-19 neutralised the Omicron variant.
"These results are better than I expected. The more antibodies you got, the more chance you'll be protected from Omicron," Sigal said on Twitter.
He said that because booster doses are not yet available in South Africa, the lab had not tested the variation against blood from persons who had received booster doses. The team detected a 41-fold decrease in levels of neutralising antibodies against the Omicron version, according to the study.
Sigal stated on Twitter that the figure would most likely be changed when his group does further studies.
While neutralising antibodies are a sign of the body's immunological response, scientists believe that the vaccinations also activate other types of cells such as B-cells and T-cells, which help guard against the impacts of the coronavirus.
The preliminary findings do not suggest that the vaccination is less effective at preventing serious illness or death.
Currently, the lab is continuing with the tests. 
BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said last week "we think it's likely that people will have substantial protection against severe disease caused by Omicron."
The Omicron variant, first identified in southern Africa last month, has sparked fears of a new wave of infections throughout the world, with more than a dozen nations reporting cases ranging from Japan to the United States.
On Nov. 26, the World Health Organization classed it as a "variant of concern," but stated there was insufficient evidence to justify the necessity for new vaccinations particularly developed to combat the Omicron variation with its many mutations.
There is currently insufficient data to determine how vaccinations from Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and other pharmaceutical companies fare against the new variety. All of the manufacturers, including Pfizer and BioNTech, are anticipated to provide their data over the next several weeks.
BioNTech's Sahin told NBC News on Tuesday that the company will release data on the new variation on Wednesday or Thursday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading infectious disease researcher in the United States, said on Tuesday that preliminary data suggests that the Omicron version of the coronavirus is more transmissible but less severe. more info
He stated that the US was doing its own studies to evaluate the efficacy of the existing vaccinations against the variation and expected results next week.
Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat warned against reading too much into a single research, citing substantial inconsistency in quantifying decreases in antibody levels in prior lab experiments.
"Let’s wait for additional studies to draw a mosaic," he said.