Daniel Gilaj, News Editor
With the rapid-spread of a new COVID-19 variant, scientists are working tirelessly to create a new vaccine that will stop the rapid spread of the omicron variant. On Tuesday, January 25, 2022, Pfizer alongside its partner BioNTech announced their study of this vaccine.
The most recent date provided by The New York Times tells us that over one-million new cases were reported in the U.S. alone on January 24th, 2022, with a seven-day average of over 730,000 new cases.
Because the data shows that the omicron variant has become far more contagious, including among the vaccinated, the next step would be to focus on the omicron variant specifically.
Pfizer’s vaccine research chief, Kathrin Jansen, hopes that, in creating this new vaccine, we will be prepared in the event that the vaccine protection diminishes over time.
The new study is reported to include 1,420 volunteers between ages 18 to 55 to use for primary vaccination or booster shots. Researchers will closely examine how this new vaccine affects the immune system against the original vaccine as well as check for any potential safety issues.
We can expect the full study to take several months as vaccine doses require many weeks between doses and because the researchers need time to measure how long the new variant provides protection.
In related news, Pfizer is said to produce 4 billion vaccine doses in 2022 regardless of whether the omicron-specific vaccine is needed.
SOURCES: The New York Times, PBS NewsHour