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Pfizer to Test a Third Dose to Protect Against COVID Variants

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The pharmaceutical company's CEO assured that it could reinforce the antibody response up to 20 times. 

The pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced Thursday that it will study the possibility of injecting a third dose to vaccinated people to try to reinforce protection against the most aggressive variants of the coronavirus. The pharmaceutical company's executive director, Albert Bourla, assured NBC channel that this third dose could reinforce the antibody response between 10 and 20 times. 

TWO AGE GROUPS This new study will be aimed at two age groups, people between 65 and 85 years of age and those between 18 and 55 years of age, and will be selected from the group that already participated in the first trials carried out by Pfizer in cooperation with BioNtech. The company's trials started in May 2020 and consisted of two injections three weeks apart. The third dose will be injected on the first anniversary of the first dose, starting next May.

This trial is in addition to the trials the company has begun with a modified version of its vaccine, designed against the South African variant. Bourla said that just as people get an annual flu shot, they will have to get one against Covid-19. "Every year you will have to go and get your dose to be protected against Covid," he said. According to a report published Feb. 18 in the New England Journal of medicine (NEJM) , Pfizer's vaccine against COVID-19 produces a weakened reaction to the South African variant of the coronavirus, known as B.1.351, but still appears sufficient to neutralize the virus.

However, the research team at the University of Texas Medical School at Galveston, which conducted the study, cautioned that the study has limitations, including a "lack of systematic examination of individual mutations and the potential for mutations to alter the neutralizing effect."