If the current mRNA coronavirus vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna are not effective against the Omicron variant of the virus, the companies stated that they will be able to adapt them within a few months.
Due to the rapid response to the Omicron variant, the effectiveness of the current vaccines is already being tested against the variant, but results are only expected in two weeks at the earliest, reports the Belga News Agency.
“This data should show whether the new variant requires a modification of our vaccine,” reads a statement from BioNTech, which developed a coronavirus vaccine together with Pfizer.
The efficacy of the vaccines against the Omicron variant can possibly be increased, with Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson already having started tests.
Pfizer and Moderna made vaccines with mRNA technology, which allows for rapid modifications. Pfizer says it can modify the current vaccine “within six weeks” and start delivering it within 100 days.
Moderna stated that it can provide an update within two months and could have results from clinical trials within about three months.
Moderna and Pfizer also want to test whether booster shots with their vaccines can sufficiently arm the immune system against the Omicron variant, as it has already been shown that booster shots significantly increase the number of antibodies against the coronavirus.