Pfizer and BioNTech have launched a clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine that specifically targets the omicron variant.

The news: Pfizer and BioNTech launched their trial for an omicron-specific vaccine as there is growing concerns that the current vaccination shots don’t stop infections and mild illness from omicron, CNBC reports.

Quote: “While current research and real-world data show that boosters continue to provide a high level of protection against severe disease and hospitalization with omicron, we recognize the need to be prepared in the event this protection wanes over time and to potentially help address omicron and new variants in the future,” said Kathrin Jansen, head of vaccine development at Pfizer, in a statement.

Fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot can’t stop omicron, but it can help, study says
Omicron vaccine will be ready soon, Pfizer CEO says

Flashback: Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said earlier in January that a COVID-19 vaccine that targets the omicron variant would be ready to deploy soon.

  • “This vaccine will be ready in March,” he said. “We (are) already starting manufacturing some of these quantities at risk.”
  • This COVID-19 vaccine will target other COVID-19 variants, too, he said.

Something to remember: A recent study, which was published on a preprint server ahead of peer review, found that omicron-fighting antibodies live for four months after a third shot of the Pfizer andBio-NTech vaccine.

  • This suggests those who got the Pfizer vaccine may need a fourth shot four months after their third shot, which sets up another round of booster doses for the spring.