BioNTech to Expand Trial Program for More Anti-Omicron Vaccine Options

BioNTech said it expanded an ongoing clinical trial program to develop new vaccines and administration patterns for improved protection against the dominant Omicron coronavirus variant on Wednesday.

Initially announced in January, the enlargement of its trial program with partner Pfizer comes as global COVID-19 cases are on the rise, and protection against infection from its established Comirnaty vaccine has waned through protection against the severe disease persists.

BioNTech increased the number of participants in the trial, which will monitor participants’ blood for immune responses, to 2,150 from the 1,420 participants announced in January.

“Our goal is to understand the protection these vaccines provide against Omicron, as well as the cross-protection they provide against previous variants of concern,” BioNTech said.

“Currently, there is no regulatory consensus on the need for Omicron-based vaccines,” BionNtech added.

BioNTech, which has delivered more than 3.1 billion vaccine doses globally with Pfizer, also said it added a subgroup getting a new vaccine targeting the two variants in one shot, a feature known as bivalent.

The European Medicines Agency urged pharmaceuticals companies to explore shots tailored to the Omicron variant and bivalent candidates.

BioNTech also said that further data is expected in April.

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