Pfizer-Biontech Testing Booster Of Their COVID-19 Vaccine In New Trial
Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE said on Thursday they are testing a third dose of their COVID-19 vaccine to better understand the immune response against new variants of the virus.
They are also in talks with regulatory authorities about testing a vaccine modified to protect specifically against the highly transmissible new variant found in South Africa and elsewhere, known as B.1.351, as a second arm of the same study.
The companies believe their current two-dose vaccine will work against the South African variant as well as one found in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. But the studies will allow the vaccine makers to be prepared if and when more protection is necessary, they said.
"The rate of mutations in the current virus is higher than expected," Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten said in an interview.
"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."