Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE said Thursday they have initiated the evaluation of a third dose of their COVID-19 vaccine, to study the effect of a booster on new SARS-CoV-2 variants. The study will draw on participants of its Phase 1 study in the U.S., who will be offered the opportunity to receive a booster of the current vaccine six to 12 months after receiving their initial two doses. “While we have not seen any evidence that the circulating variants result in a loss of protection provided by our vaccine, we are taking multiple steps to act decisively and be ready in case a strain becomes resistant to the protection afforded by the vaccine,” said Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla. “This booster study is critical to understanding the safety of a third dose and immunity against circulating strains.” Pfizer’s stock gained 0.4% in premarket trading, while BioNTech shares slipped 0.5% and futures for the S&P 500 eased 0.3%.
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