How well does a Biontech vaccination protect against Omikron?
Photo: Carlos Ortega / EPA
The omicron variant of the coronavirus is spreading.
Initial laboratory studies indicate that they can bypass the immune protection that humans have acquired through vaccinations or coronavirus infections better than previous mutants.
Biontech and Pfizer have now published preliminary results on the effectiveness of their vaccine against Omikron.
Accordingly, people who have been vaccinated twice have significantly lower neutralization titers against Omikron - that is, they are significantly less protected against this variant than against other coronavirus mutants.
However, the data also showed that a third dose increased the amount of neutralizing antibodies 25 times compared to two doses, the companies said.
"These initial data suggest that a booster vaccination can still offer sufficient protection against a disease of any severity caused by the Omicron variant," said Biontech founder Ugur Sahin, according to the press release.
Biontech and Pfizer also point out what is known as the T cell response after vaccination.
These specialized immune defense cells also recognize the virus' spike protein after vaccination.
According to the companies, 80 percent of the surface features these T cells recognize are unchanged at Omikron.
So "a double vaccination could probably still offer protection against severe Covid 19 disease," said Pfizer and Biontech.