Pfizer and BioNTech roll out new data for their bivalent booster against newer Omicron variants
As Pfizer and BioNTech tout the effectiveness of their bivalent booster against Omicron variants such as BA.4 and BA.5, more Covid-19 variants have been creeping up on the general public. Now the partners are lifting the cover on new data showing its effectiveness against the newer variants of the virus.
On Friday, Pfizer and BioNTech reported new results analyzing the immune response induced by the bivalent Covid-19 vaccine against the newer “sublineages” including BA.4.6, BA.2.75.2, BQ.1.1 and XBB.1, with Pfizer and BioNTech stating that the vaccine “elicits a greater increase in neutralizing antibody titers” than the original vaccine against these sublineages and providing overall protection.
The data, which were posted to bioRxiv, shows that after a dose of the BA.4/BA.5 bivalent vaccine, the neutralizing antibodies against BA.4.6 increased 11.1-fold, with BA.2.75.2, BQ1.1 and XBB.1 seeing increases of 6.7, 8.7 and 4.8 respectively. The protection with the original vaccine was substantially weaker, with only a 2.3-fold increase of antibodies that can neutralize BA.4.6, for example.
This comes on the heels of the bivalent booster showing a 13-fold increase to the BA.4/BA.5 variants, as well as getting EUA from the US FDA for ages 5 years and older.
So far, close to 22.7 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech bivalent vaccine have been administered, according to CDC data.
The data that Pfizer and BioNTech have rolled out, come at a time when its vaccine competitor, Moderna, also took the lid off clinical data for its bivalent booster against earlier strains. Moderna’s booster had met its primary endpoint, inducing significantly higher neutralizing antibody titers, against BA.4/BA.5 compared to a booster dose of mRNA-1273 — the original Spikevax vaccine.
Pfizer and BioNTech do not plan on stopping there. On Thursday, the companies announced that they have started an estimated 180-person Phase I trial of a new pan-variant Covid vaccine combined with their Omicron-specific booster. The hope is that a longer-lasting and more effective shot can be produced. And, unlike the versions of the mRNA-based vaccines, the new vaccine doesn’t encode for the virus’ hallmark spike protein, instead triggering production of other viral proteins that the variants have in common and that rarely mutate.