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Pfizer & BioNTech vying for 3rd dose to curb Delta virus variant

With the pandemic once again regaining intensity, Japan banned fans from most Olympic events and placed Tokyo under a virus state of emergency throughout the Games.

In this March 16, 2020, file photo, pharmacist Michael Witte, left, gives Rebecca Sirull a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, Monday, March 16, 2020, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. Sirull is the third patient to receive the shot in the study. Researchers say the first phase of human clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine in healthy volunteers in the Pittsburgh area could start in the coming months. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Pfizer and BioNTech said they are seeking approval for vaccination of a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine to boost its efficacy, as the Delta variant drove devastating outbreaks in Asia and Africa and cases rose again in Europe and the United States.

With the pandemic once again regaining intensity, Japan banned fans from most Olympic events and placed Tokyo under a virus state of emergency throughout the Games.

The decision comes just two weeks before the opening ceremony. Delta is the most infectious strain of the virus since the start of the global pandemic in early 2020. Originally detected in India months ago, it has quickly spread and today is accelerating outbreaks even in countries with high vaccination rates.

This led the World Health Organisation to warn that the world was at a “perilous point” as the official global death toll passed four million.

Pfizer and BioNTech said they expect that a third dose will perform well against the Delta strain, and that they will be seeking authorisation in the United States, Europe and other regions in coming weeks.

Initial data from an ongoing trial showed a third shot pushed antibody levels five to 10 times higher against the original coronavirus strain and the Beta variant, first found in South Africa, compared to the first two doses alone, according to a statement.

The companies said they expected similar results for Delta — but added they are also developing a Delta-specific vaccine against the strain. A day ago, US regulators said they were still studying the need for booster shots.

Javed Mahmood
Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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