File photo Photograph:( AFP )
Pfizer said that although two doses of the vaccine offer a high level of protection, the third jab increases efficacy by 25 per cent
A preliminary laboratory study has revealed that three doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine neutralises the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
The company said that although two doses of the vaccine offer a high level of protection, the third jab increases efficacy by 25 per cent.
“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,” said Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Albert Bourla.
“Ensuring as many people as possible are fully vaccinated with the first two-dose series and a booster remains the best course of action to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Omicron counts more than 30 mutations on the spike protein that dots the surface of the coronavirus and allows it to invade cells.
The results suggest "that there is definitely much less neutralisation against Omicron compared to neutralisation against the original strains that came out of Wuhan initially," said Willem Hanekom, executive director of the Africa Health Research Institute, which carried out the study.
Pfizer will deliver an Omicron-based vaccine in March 2022. It is currently under development by BioNTech.
Omicron has caused global concern over signs that it can transmit faster than previous strains and fears that its multiple mutations could help it evade immune defences provided by vaccines.
(With inputs from agencies)