Pfizer and BioNTech booster shows strong results in fresh analysis of data

A fresh analysis of data on the immune response generated by the bivalent COVID-19 booster showed strong results against the newer omicron sublineages, Pfizer and German partner BioNTech said Friday.

The bivalent booster targets the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron variants as well as the original virus, and it also appears to be effective against the sublineages dubbed BA.4.6, BA.2.75.2, BQ.1.1 and XBB.1.

The data, which have been posted on the preprint server bioRxiv, show that the booster induces a greater increase in neutralizing-antibody titers than the companies’ original COVID vaccine.

“Based on these findings, the Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted bivalent booster may help to provide improved protection against COVID-19 due to Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages as well as new sublineages that continue to increase in prevalence,” the companies said in a joint statement.

Specifically, one month after a booster dose of the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, neutralizing-antibody titers against the sublineages increased 3.2-fold to 4.8-fold compared with the original COVID vaccine.

Neutralizing-antibody titers against BA.4.6, BA.2.75.2, BQ.1.1 and XBB.1 increased 4.8-fold to 11.1-fold from prebooster levels following a booster dose of the bivalent vaccine.

The bivalent booster has been granted emergency-use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for people ages 5 and older and has also been allowed in the European Union for that group.

The news comes as U.S. COVID cases have been rising again, although the daily average edged lower on Thursday to 39,562, according to a New York Times tracker, down 1% from two weeks ago.

Cases are rising in roughly half the states and falling in the rest, but there are wide discrepancies between individual states. In Nebraska, cases are up 540% from two weeks ago, the tracker shows, followed by Arizona, where they are up 110%; California, where they have climbed 53%; and Colorado, where they are up 50%.

Meanwhile, Kentucky is seeing a 54% decline in cases from two weeks ago, and Michigan cases are down 48%.

The daily U.S. average for hospitalizations is up 2% to 27,818, while the daily average for deaths is down 4% to 325.

Story culled from MarketWatch. Click here to read the full article


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