Vaccines Tailored For Omicron Coming Soon; Who Will Need One?
Pfizer announced that by March it may have a new covid vaccine ready that is modified specifically to protect against the omicron variant. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson also said their variation is in development. Some health experts say it's unclear if one will even be needed by that timeframe though.
Pfizer Says Its Vaccine Targeting Omicron Will Be Ready In March
Pfizer will have a COVID-19 vaccine that specifically targets the Omicron variant ready by March, the pharmaceutical company's chief executive said Monday. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the company has already begun manufacturing a new version of its COVID-19 vaccine that aims to protect recipients against Omicron. "This vaccine will be ready in March," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Monday. "We [are] already starting manufacturing some of these quantities at risk." (Cerullo, 1/10)
Omicron-Specific Vaccines Could Be Ready By March. Will We Need Them?
It’s unclear if omicron-specific shots, or additional doses, will even be necessary by the time they are ready, health experts say. John Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Weill Cornell Medical College, said by the time the new shots are ready to be deployed, "omicron will almost certainly have come and gone." (Lovelace Jr., 1/10)
In other news about Pfizer's covid vaccine —
Pfizer CEO Says Two Covid Vaccine Doses Aren't 'Enough For Omicron'
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on Monday said two doses of the company’s vaccine may not provide strong protection against infection from the omicron Covid variant, and the original shots have also lost some of their efficacy at preventing hospitalization. Bourla, in an interview at J.P. Morgan’s healthcare conference, emphasized the importance of a third shot to boost people’s protection against omicron. “The two doses, they’re not enough for omicron,” Bourla said. “The third dose of the current vaccine is providing quite good protection against deaths, and decent protection against hospitalizations.” (Kimball, 1/10)
Pfizer COVID Vaccine 91% Effective Against Inflammatory Syndrome
Among 12- to 18-year-old hospitalized COVID-19 patients, two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was 91% effective in preventing the rare but serious coronavirus-related multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), according to a US study published late last week in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. (Van Beusekom, 1/10)
Universal Flu Vaccine May Be Next Big Moderna, Pfizer MRNA Development
The research and development that led to the Covid-19 vaccines have boosted efforts to find a more powerful, longer-lasting flu vaccine, perhaps taking steps towards virologists’ holy grail: a one-time, universal flu jab. Scientists at Pfizer and Moderna, the pharmaceutical companies that harnessed a half-century of research into mRNA technology to create Covid vaccines, are using that same know-how in exploring ways to inoculate the masses from the flu. (Woods, 1/10)
Pfizer To Pay Beam $300M In Gene Editing Deal, Upping Its MRNA Ambitions
Pfizer is making a major push to leverage mRNA technology, on which its Covid-19 vaccine is based, to develop new vaccines and treatments. The drug giant said Monday it will pay Beam Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass., startup founded by Harvard researcher David Liu, $300 million to spend four years developing treatments for three undisclosed rare genetic diseases affecting the liver, the muscles, and the central nervous system. (Herper and Molteni, 1/10)