Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vials in this illustration. Image Credit: REUTERS

Washington: Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE said initial lab studies show a third dose of their COVID-19 vaccine neutralizes the Omicron variant, results that will accelerate booster shot drives around the world.

A booster with the current version of the vaccine increased antibodies 25-fold, providing a similar level as observed after two doses against the original virus and other variants, the companies said on Wednesday.

Blood plasma from people immunized with two doses of the vaccine has neutralizing antibody levels more than 25-fold less versus omicron than against the original strain of the virus, the companies said.

“It’s clear from these preliminary data that protection is improved with a third dose,” Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said in a statement. The initial data show a third dose could offer still offer enough protection from disease, BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said.

The data are preliminary, as the partners continue to study the new variant.