Britain’s drug regulator announced on Monday that it has approved a new generation of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine targeting the Omicron variant, a first in the world, according to the lab.
This version of the vaccine consists of a so-called “bivalent” booster dose that targets half the original strain of the virus and half the Omicron variant and “evokes a strong immune response” against both, including the Omicron BA subvariants. .4 and BA.5, the MHRA said in a statement.
It “has been approved by the MHRA for adult booster doses, which has concluded that it meets the UK regulatory authority’s safety, quality and efficacy standards,” the medicines agency added.
It is clarified that the observed side effects are “usually mild” and similar to those observed for the original sera.
“What this bivalent vaccine gives us is a sharper tool in our toolbox to help protect us from this disease as the virus continues to evolve,” MHRA Director June Rein said in a press release.
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel emphasized the “important role” that a “new generation” vaccine can play in protecting against Covid-19.
He noted that in doing so, the UK became the first country to approve a bivalent vaccine partially targeted at Omicron, the variant that has become the most common in Europe.
Last week, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it was aiming for approval as early as the fall of a Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine targeting two sub-variants of the rapidly spreading Omicron strain, BA.4 and BA.5.
While vaccination has helped reduce hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19, which first appeared in China in late 2019, the current injections mostly target earlier strains of the disease.
In July, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the pandemic was “far from over” due to the proliferation of sub-options of Omicron, the lifting of medical restrictions and a reduction in screenings.
In late spring and early summer, the number of Covid cases around the world skyrocketed due to new options, but they have since begun to stabilize in Europe.
European countries are now starting to count on autumn and winter when cases are expected to pick up again.
The United Kingdom is one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic in Europe, with nearly 180,000 deaths. Despite the fact that due to vaccination, mortality has dropped sharply, the country regularly faces large waves of infection, but last winter was one of the first in Europe to remove all restrictions.