Researchers at the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban, South Africa, found omicron resulted in about a 40-fold reduction in levels of neutralizing antibodies produced by people who had received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech SE shot, compared with the strain detected in China almost two years ago.
The loss of immune protection is “robust, but not complete,” Alex Sigal, head of research at the laboratory, said in an online presentation of the first reported experiments gauging the effectiveness of the vaccine against the new variant.
“There will be more breakthrough” of vaccine-induced immunity, Sigal said. “A good booster probably would decrease your chance of infection, especially severe infection leading to more severe disease. People who haven’t had a booster should get one, and people who have been previously infected should be vaccinated.”
Apparently the solution to everything is more vaccines. Who would have guessed?
Tyler Durden: Pfizer Vaccine Less Effective Against Omicron.
The silver lining is that, as we have previously reported, cases so far have overwhelmingly been mild. Officials in Norway say that is likely because so many of the infections have been in vaccinated people. Many cases are still only a few days old, however, and scientists say it is too soon to be sure whether the level of disease severity reported reflects some property of Omicron itself, or is a result of factors such as the protection afforded by vaccination or prior infection, or age.
The picture emerging from labs in South Africa … and increasingly from Europe is that the variant is likely more transmissible than previous versions of the virus and may be able to more easily sidestep the immunity from prior infection or vaccination. It displays dozens of mutations, some linked to faster spread and some whose properties are entirely unknown.
Does that mean the current vaccines are pretty useless against Omicron transmission? Maybe.