A new study awaiting peer review has found that those administered the full two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine possess high levels of neutralising antibodies to combat the original strain of the contagious disease. However, these levels drop considerably – nearly ten-fold – within seven months after the second dose.
Uğur Şahin, co-founder and chief executive officer of BioNTech, told the Financial Times in a recent interview that although present COVID-19 variants, like the highly transmissible Delta strain, are unlikely to undermine original vaccine formulas, that luxury may be coming to a close.
“This year [a different vaccine] is completely unneeded, but by mid-next year, it could be a different situation”, Şahin told the outlet. “This is a continuous evolution, and that evolution has just started”.
BioNTech, the German-based company which developed a COVID-19 vaccine with US pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc., recently submitted data to US regulators regarding the use of its vaccine in children aged five to 11.
As more is learned about the best defence against emerging COVID-19 strains, related research on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine appears to show that participants had a considerable decrease in antibodies within the first several months.
“Our study shows vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine induces high levels of neutralising antibodies against the original vaccine strain, but these levels drop by nearly 10-fold by seven months” following the first dose, researchers Bali Pulendran of Stanford University and Mehul Suthar of Emory University told Reuters in an emailed statement.