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Omicron-Focused Vaccines

Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have launched trials of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines aimed particularly at the Omicron variant, according to the New York Times.

Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Tuesday that they launched a study with 1,420 volunteers to gauge the safety and tolerability of the vaccine as well as whether and how much it raises antibody levels, the Times says. The study will include people who have received two initial vaccine doses, people who have received two doses plus a booster, and a previously unvaccinated group. The companies expect that their study will have results in the first half of the year.

Moderna, meanwhile, said on Wednesday that it has launched its own safety and immune response study of an Omicron-specific booster in 600 people, according to a separate Times article. Its cohort will include people who received two initial vaccine doses and people who received two plus a booster.

"While current research and real-world data show that boosters continue to provide a high level of protection against severe disease and hospitalization with Omicron, we recognize the need to be prepared in the event this protection wanes over time and to potentially help address Omicron and new variants in the future," Kathrin Jansen, Pfizer's head of vaccine research and development, says in a statement.