British regulator 1st to OK updated COVID shot targeting omicron

British Regulator First to OK Updated COVID Shot Targeting Omron

LONDON (AP) – British drug regulator Moderna has become the first in the world to authorize an updated version of its coronavirus vaccine that includes protection against the Omron version, which the government has said will protect people aged 50 and older. will be launched in the fall

The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency said in a statement Monday that it has approved Moderna’s combination “bivalent” vaccine, which will be used as an adult booster shot.

Each dose of the booster shot will target both the original COVID-19 virus that was first detected in 2020 and the Omicron BA.1 variant that was first picked up in November. British regulators said the side effects were similar to Moderna’s original booster shot and were generally “mild and self-resolving”.

“This (combination) vaccine is a fast tool in our arsenal to help protect us from this disease as the virus continues to evolve,” said Dr June Raine, head of Britain’s health care and drug regulator.

British Health Secretary Steve Barkley said the new shot would be part of the country’s booster program roll-out from September, based on advice from the government’s vaccine experts.

“This safe and effective vaccine will broaden immunity and potentially improve protection against certain types as we learn to live with this virus,” Barclay said.

Such approaches, combining protection against multiple strains of the same disease, are used with flu shots, which are adjusted each year based on the types that are circulating and can protect against the four influenza strains. Huh.

Moderna chief executive Stefan Bansel said in a statement that it was the first regulatory authority for a vaccine aimed at fighting the Omicron variant, predicting that the booster’s winter will help protect people against COVID-19. important role”. ,

On Friday, Germany’s health minister said the European Medicines Agency could clear COVID-19 boosters next month.

In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration told vaccine manufacturers that any booster shots for the fall would have to include protection against the latest Omicron variants, meaning BA.4 and BA.5, not the BA.1 subvariants. Modern’s latest included. shot.

Last month, the FDA said it was no longer considering authorizing a second COVID-19 booster for all adults, but would instead focus on modified vaccines for the autumn that target the latest viral subvariant. .

Both Moderna and Pfizer are currently making updated versions of their vaccines to include BA.5 in addition to the original COVID-19 virus.

According to the World Health Organization, the latest global surge of COVID-19 is driven by the omicron subvariant BA.5, which accounts for about 70% of virus samples shared with the world’s largest public virus database. Subvariant BA.5 is even more infectious than the original version of Omicron and has some genetic differences that earlier vaccines could not address.

Scientists have warned that the continued genetic evolution of COVID-19 means drugmakers will be one step behind the virus in their efforts to design their own vaccines.

“The virus is unlikely to remain stable and oomicron-targeted immunity may push the virus down other evolutionary paths,” warned Jonathan Ball, professor of virology at the University of Nottingham, UK. Still, he said the new Moderna vaccine would still be protective against serious illness.

Other experts said it is still unknown how effective the new combination vaccine will be.

Beit Kampman, director of the Vaccine Center at London’s School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the shot would most likely only provide “partial protection” against the latest Omicron variants, including BA.5 because it was developed based on older versions of COVID-19. it was done. ,

“How much of a difference such (combination) vaccines can actually make remains to be seen,” she said, noting that the shots have not been widely tested in different populations.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.