COVID-19: Moderna vaccine version targeting Omicron approved in UK

COVID-19: Version of Moderna vaccine targeting Omicron approved in UK


The UK medicines regulator announced Monday that it has approved a new generation of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine targeting the Omicron variant, a world first according to the lab. < /p>

This version of the vaccine consists of a so-called “bivalent” booster dose, targeting half the original strain of the virus and half the Omicron variant and “provokes a strong immune response” against both, including against the subvariants of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5, the MHRA said in a statement.

It “has been approved for adult booster doses by the MHRA who have concluded that it meets the standards of safety, quality and effectiveness of the British regulator”, added the drug agency.

The side effects observed are “typically weak” and similar to those observed for the original serums, it is specified.< /p>

“What this bivalent vaccine gives us is a sharper tool in our toolbox to help protect us against this disease as the virus continues to evolve,” MHRA Director June Raine said. in a press release.

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel underlined for his part “the important role” that this “new generation” of vaccine can play in the protection against Covid-19.

He noted that the United Kingdom thus became the first country to approve a bivalent vaccine partly targeting Omicron, the variant that has become the most widespread in Europe.

Last week, the European Medicines Agency (EMA ) said it is aiming for fall approval of a Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine targeting two rapidly spreading subvariants of the Omicron strain, BA.4 and BA.5.

While vaccinations have helped reduce hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19, which first emerged in China in late 2019, current injections mainly target earlier strains of the disease. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned in July that the pandemic was “far from over”, due to the spread of Omicron sub-variants, the lifting of health restrictions and the decline in testing. 

COVID-19 cases increased globally in late spring and early summer, driven by newer variants, but have since begun to level off in Europe.

European countries are now starting to look towards autumn and winter, when cases are expected to rise again.

The UK is one of the countries most affected in Europe by the pandemic with nearly 180,000 deaths. While mortality has fallen sharply thanks to vaccination, the country regularly experiences large waves of contamination, but was one of the first in Europe to lift all restrictions last winter.