The coronavirus vaccine developed jointly by BioNTech and Pfizer is “still effective” against the Omicron variant of the virus after three doses, the companies said in a statement on Wednesday.
A laboratory study by its makers found the vaccine “is still effective in preventing Covid-19, also against Omicron, if it has been administered three times”, but warned that “the Omicron variant is probably not sufficiently neutralised after two doses”.
According to the study “a third dose provides a similar level of neutralising antibodies to Omicron as is observed after two doses” for other variants.
Pfizer and BioNTech also said that an Omicron-specific version of the anti-coronavirus vaccine, currently in development by BioNTech, would be available by March.
The new study comes after dozens of nations re-imposed border restrictions in response to the spread of the new virus variant and raised the possibility of a return of economically punishing lockdowns.
Omicron has so far been found in 57 countries, the World Health Organization said. No deaths have yet been associated with the variant.