Drugmakers divided on efficacy of vaccines against Omicron
The Straits Times|December 02, 2021
Fauci cautions against depending on scant data, saying clearer picture will emerge in 2-4 weeks

FRANKFURT A rift among drugmakers over just how well Covid-19 vaccines will work against the Omicron variant has spooked global policymakers, in a reflection of how an information vacuum around the new pathogen is creating fresh anxiety about the pandemic.

Pharma executives and other experts lined up to say there is little evidence so far that the newly discovered variant will erode the protective power of Covid-19 shots.

BioNTech and Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine will likely offer strong protection against any severe disease from the new Omicron virus variant, BioNTech’s chief executive said, as the firm weighs the need to upgrade its commonly used shot.

Lab tests are underway over the next two weeks to analyse the blood of people who had two or three doses of BioNTech’s Comirnaty vaccine to see if antibodies found in that blood inactivate Omicron, shedding light on whether new vaccines are needed.

Separately, the University of Oxford, which helped develop the widely used vaccine sold by AstraZeneca Plc, said there is no indication that existing shots would not provide some protection from the newly discovered variant.

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