Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Booster Push

With new data, Pfizer and BioNTech say that the protection their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine provides against infection declines over time, though it still offers protection against serious disease, the New York Times reports. It adds that Pfizer is using the findings to bolster its case for a vaccine booster dose.

In a preprint posted to MedRxiv, the companies report that the efficacy of their vaccine in preventing COVID-19 was 91 percent over six months. But they found that that efficacy decreased over time by an average of 6 percent every two months, or to about 84 percent after four to six months. Efficacy in preventing severe disease, though, remained high, around 97 percent.

The Wall Street Journal notes that this data pre-dates the rise of the Delta variant in the US. Data from health officials in Israel have also suggested a decline in efficacy of the vaccine against the Delta variant.

Pfizer and BioNTech announced earlier this month that they were studying a booster dose of the vaccine, saying that it could increase neutralization titers. But US health officials pushed back against the idea of a booster shot. In a joint statement, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said there is no need yet for a booster. After meeting with Pfizer, FDA reiterated that more data was needed to determine whether a booster is needed.

According to the Journal, Pfizer plans to seek regulatory authorization in the US for a booster next month.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.