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While there has been a lot of curiosity lately how effective the BioNTech vaccine is against the Omicron variant, the results of the first study on this subject have been published. The results showed a significant decrease in the antibodies produced by the BioNTech vaccine. But a different study pointed out that this decline is at a lower level.
Studies continue about the Omicron variant, which appeared about 2 weeks ago and caused countries to sign travel restrictions decisions, although it was seen in a small number of people at that time. One of the most curious things about the new variant was whether the vaccines we currently use could resist the variant. To answer this, a study showed for the first time the effect of the coronavirus vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer on Omicron.
In the study, carried out at the African Health Research Institute and still awaiting peer review, 14 blood samples were taken from 12 people, 6 of whom had previously had coronavirus. In the study, it was discovered that compared to the original version of the virus, there was a roughly 40-fold reduction in antibody levels generated by the BioNTech vaccine. Although this rate is frightening, Alex Sigal, who carried out the study, stated that Omicron still has not completely defeated the vaccine, and it is important to be vaccinated against the new variant.
But the marked reduction in antibodies raised the question of how effective vaccine protection against Omicron would be, as well as how durable it would be. Sigal stated that a good and strengthening additional vaccine will reduce the risk of infection, and that there should be those who do not have additional vaccines.
Shortly after Sigal announced the results of his work with his team, Sweden’s Karolinska Institute also published the results of its own study. This study showed lower levels of antibody reduction than the South African study. According to the study, which was done with 17 blood samples and pending evaluation, such as the study in Africa, the decrease in antibody was 7 times compared to the original version of the virus.
In the shared study results, the researchers noted that the effect of Omicron varied greatly between samples, and they used a lab-manufactured version of Omicron instead of a live virus. It was stated that Omicron is definitely worse than Delta, but still not as extreme as expected.
Previous studies for the Delta variant have shown that the level of reduction in antibody is 2-3-fold, and in Beta 7-8-fold. Let us remind you again that the results of the new studies are not conclusive, these are preliminary results and they are awaiting approval.