Booster shot protects against omicron variant in Israeli study

December 14, 2021: -On Sunday, Israeli researchers said they found that a three-shot course of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine provided huge protection against the new Omicron variant.

The findings were kind of those presented by BioNTech and Pfizer earlier in the week, which were an early signal that booster doses could be key to protect against infection from the recently identified variant.

The study, carried out by Sheba Medical Center and the Health Ministry’s Central Virology Laboratory, compared the blood of 20 people who had received two vaccine doses 5-6 months sooner to the same number of individuals who had received a booster a month before.

“People who received the second dose 5 or 6 months ago do not have any neutralization ability against the Omicron.

 While they do have some against the Delta,” Gili Regev-Yochay, director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba, told reporters.

“The good news is that with the booster dose, increasing about a hundredfold. There is huge protection of the booster dose. It is lower than the neutralization ability against the Delta, about four times lower,” she said.

The Israeli team said they worked with the actual virus while the companies used what is known as a pseudovirus, which was bio-engineered to have the hallmark mutations of Omicron.

The Israeli research follows a study from South Africa that found the omicron variant can partially evade protection from two doses.