The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Friday that the new omicron strain is a "variant of concern" and that it is working to quickly adapt its shots to a new and highly mutated strain of the virus, according to CNBC.
Pfizer and BioNTech said they expect more data from lab tests about omicron, first labeled B.1.1.529, in two weeks at the latest.
"This data will provide more information about whether B.1.1.529 could be an escape variant that may require an adjustment of our vaccine if the variant spreads globally," the companies said.
The variant emerged in South Africa and has about 50 mutations, more than 30 of which are on the spike protein, allowing the virus to bind to human cells. Scientists are still unsure of the extent to which people should be worried about the effects.
The United Kingdom suspended flights on Thursday from six countries in southern Africa, and the European Union has halted travel from the same region. Several Asian countries have taken similar measures.
The effectiveness of initial vaccinations has dropped sharply from February to October.
The Pfizer vaccine's efficacy at preventing infection declined from 86% to 43% from February to October. Moderna's vaccine dropped from 89% to 58%, and J&J's vaccine fell from 86% to 13% efficacy against infection, a study in the the journal Science found.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) authorized booster shots of Pfizer-BioNTech's and Moderna's vaccines for all adults last Friday.
The Pfizer booster dose was 95% effective at preventing symptomatic infection in people who had no evidence of prior infection in a clinical trial of 10,000 participants ages 16 and older, according to the company. Moderna is still conducting a clinical trial on the efficacy of its booster dose, CNBC said of both companies.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.