Pfizer plans to test a version of its COVID-19 vaccine adapted for the omicron variant by the end of January, the chief scientist of the pharmaceutical company said in an interview.
“The tests will begin at the end of January with a series of clinical trials comparing the immune response of the current vaccine against the omicron variant,” said Mikael Dolsten, head of Pfizer’s Scientific Division, in an interview with Business Insider.
The pharmaceutical company pointed out that the details of the clinical trial of its vaccine against the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, such as the nationality and number of volunteers who will participate, have yet to be defined.
Dolsten added that Pfizer’s current SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus vaccine still provides “really strong protection against hospitalizations.” However, it is known that the current doses of the biological developed in conjunction with the German laboratory BioNTech are less effective in preventing less severe infections. The idea, Dolsten said, is to adjust the vaccine to ensure both types of protections.
“It’s worth wondering if the omicron vaccine can further reduce the disease. If this is the case, then we will consider starting to distribute it in March, if by then omicron continues to be the dominant variant, “he added.
For his part, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told the chain on January 10 CNBC that the adjusted vaccine to counter the omicron variant will be ready in March.
“We do not know if we will need it, we do not know if we will use it, but it will be ready,” he said.