Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna announced this week they may be ready to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine that specifically targets the omicron variant and sub variants as early as September.
A statement on the Pfizer and BioNTech website revealed “positive data evaluating the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of two Omicron-adapted COVID-19 vaccine candidates: one monovalent and the other bivalent, a combination of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and a vaccine candidate targeting the spike protein of the Omicron BA.1 variant of concern.”
The revamped vaccines would roll out instead of another booster for adults under 50 years of age as previously planned by the White House. The shots will include an omicron BA.4 and BA.5 components in order to protect against the latest sub variants that have spread in the United States and around the world.
As the BA.5 sub variant continues to spread, experts say the risk of COVID-19 reinfection for those who have previously had the virus is high.
The Food and Drug Administration still recommends adults over 50 who have not yet been boosted should receive a booster now. “You can still benefit from existing booster options and leave time to receive an updated booster in the fall,” the FDA said in a statement.
“As we’ve said since the early days of the pandemic, we will follow the science and adapt our own approaches as needed to help address COVID-19 as the virus evolves,” said Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla.
“Based on these data, we believe we have two very strong Omicron-adapted candidates that elicit a substantially higher immune response against Omicron than we’ve seen to date. We look forward to discussing these data with the scientific community and health authorities so we may rapidly introduce an Omicron-adapted booster as soon as possible if authorized by regulators,” Bourla added.
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