Pfizer say they will develop a new COVID vaccine to function as a booster against the Delta variant
Currently, two doses of Pfizer work at 64% against the Delta variant. Delta, originating in India, is a variant that decreases all vaccine efficacy – it has been found by a Public Health England study to be twice as infectious as the Alpha variant.
‘6 to 12 months after full vaccination’
Previously, Pfizer explained that a third booster shot would be necessary for all people – as immunity would naturally wane, especially when exposed to new mutations and variants.
In a statement on Thursday (8 July), Pfizer said: “That is why we have said, and we continue to believe that it is likely, based on the totality of the data we have to date, that a third dose may be needed within 6 to 12 months after full vaccination.”
Clinical studies on the third booster jab are expected to begin in August, 2021.
Emma Wall, Infectious Diseases consultant and Senior Clinical Research Fellow for the Legacy study, said: “This virus will likely be around for some time to come, so we need to remain agile and vigilant. The most important thing is to ensure that vaccine protection remains high enough to keep as many people out of hospital as possible.”
Will some countries be able to access the vaccine?
The TRIPS Agreement, an intellectual property law, continues to make it implausible for some countries to afford to make their own version of the vaccine. Factories in Bangladesh stand empty, waiting for legal confirmation of right to manufacture. If they go ahead and make the generic vaccine anyway, they face being sued heavily by the pharmaceutical industry.
The World Trade Organisation has been debating waiving this law for the entirety of the pandemic, but countries like Australia and the UK remain opposed to the relaxation of the law.
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