Pfizer, Inc., today announced that it would begin human studies of Omicron Biotech’s experimental vaccine Omicron Vax, which aims to prevent the infectious disease dengue fever, this month. Dengue fever currently affects roughly 100 million people each year and can be fatal in severe cases. Omicron Biotech is a new research and development company formed by Pfizer in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop treatments for infectious diseases endemic to the world’s poorest regions.
What Is Omicron Vax?
Omicron Vax is a therapeutic vaccine used for immunotherapy against cancer. It stimulates T-cells to destroy tumor cells and induce apoptosis in tumor cells in patients with various cancers. This drug has been investigated in more than 15 clinical trials involving more than 3,000 subjects, demonstrating its safety and efficacy. Previous studies have proven effective at shrinking tumors or preventing them from growing; however, there have been no studies involving large human groups yet.
How Does Omicron Vax Work?
The first step toward new vaccines is understanding how they work. The two main parts of a vaccine, called antigens and adjuvants, work together to stimulate a protective immune response in our bodies. An antigen is just any molecule that gets your immune system’s attention; it is then processed by your body’s B cells and presented on their surface as a foreign entity.
Potential Side Effects
Any new vaccine has a risk of causing some side effects, but we’re still waiting for clinical trial results that will tell us if Omicron Vax is safe. Still, based on what we do know about influenza vaccines, it seems that an increased risk of fever and other flu-like symptoms is possible. It’s also important to note that multiple doses may be needed overtime for protection against influenza strains to last.
When Be Will It Available?
Phase 1 clinical trials are still in progress, but on January 5th, 2015, Pfizer announced that they would begin Phase 2 clinical trials sometime later in 2015. After Phase 2 is complete (anticipated date is February 2016), FDA review should take anywhere from 9 months up to two years before it’s released for public consumption. However, once approved, omicron vax could be available at your local pharmacy as early as 2018.
What Are the Benefits of Vaccinating with Omicron Vax?
A novel type of vaccine is being studied as a possible treatment for several conditions, including cancer and multiple sclerosis. However, it’s important to note that while studies are promising, no one knows how effective or safe it will be in humans until it has been put through some form of rigorous testing in human beings. A clinical trial would seem like an obvious next step, but that hasn’t happened so far.
How Do I Get it?
It is currently undergoing phase II clinical trials, and Pfizer expects phase III studies will start in 2013. So far, it’s only been tested in animals. The FDA has not approved any human vaccines for use yet. However, its developers say that once it gets approval and becomes available, it could potentially protect against multiple strains of influenza at once, including avian flu strains and others such as swine flu and H1N1.
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