Pfizer, BioNTech Testing Booster Shot In New Trial

Pfizer and BioNTech were testing their booster shot in a new trial.

Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE on Thursday said that they’re testing their booster shot (the third dose of their COVID-19 vaccine) in order to better understand the immune response against new COVID-19 variants.

They’re also in talks with regulatory authorities about testing a COVID-19 vaccine modified to protect specifically against the highly-transmissible new COVID-19 variant found in South Africa and elsewhere – known as B.1.351 – as a second arm of the same study.

Pfizer BioNTech booster shot
Photo source: GMA News Online

In a report on GMA News Online, Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE believed that their current two-dose COVID-19 vaccine would work against the South African COVID-19 variant as well as one variant found in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

However, Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE added that the studies would allow the vaccine manufacturers to be prepared if and when more protection was necessary.

The rate of mutations in the current virus is higher than expected. It’s a reasonable probability that we would end up with regular boosts. And for potent vaccines, it may be that you need to do a strain change every few years, but not necessarily every year,” Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten said in an interview.

READ ALSO: Moderna Developing Booster Shot For New COVID-19 Variants

A third 30-microgram dose would be given to as many as 144 people who received the COVID-19 vaccine 6-12 months ago in their original Phase 1 safety trial in the first stage of the first arm of the study.

Assuming regulatory approval, Dolsten said that their redesigned COVID-19 vaccine would also be tested in people who had been inoculated and in people who hadn’t yet received the COVID-19 vaccine.

The trial wouldn’t seek to measure the efficacy of the said vaccine like their large Phase 3 clinical trial last year.

Instead, it would measure the antibody response and would study whether blood from recipients could neutralize the new COVID-19 variants, as well as the safety of a booster shot.

Meanwhile, Moderna Inc said that it was working with US government scientists in order to study an experimental booster shot that targeted a concerning new COVID-19 variant.

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