Omicron-targeted COVID vaccine gets approval: From efficacy to dosage, everything you need to know

Late last year, the Omicron COVID variant was first spotted in South Africa and within months it became the dominant coronavirus strain worldwide. And with that, the spread pattern of the virus changed dramatically as new sub-variants appeared every few months. For this reason, experts have been working on an Omicron-specific vaccine which became a reality recently with Moderna Inc. receiving UK government approval for a Covid-19 booster shot that targets omicron. The catchy-named Spikevax Bivalent Original/Omicron has been given the green light for use in the UK and is expected to roll out to other countries soon. Here’s everything you need to know:

What is special about this vaccine?

The new vaccine targets two distinct strains of Covid-19 – the original version of the virus that emerged in China’s central city of Wuhan with the BA.1 subvariant, the first version of omicron. Other versions of omicron, BA.4 and BA.5, are now more widespread, but the virus is evolving faster than new vaccines can be formulated and tested, and it is the closest available match that has been authorized. Moderna has another shot available that targets the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants, which has been ordered by the US, but not yet cleared.

How effective is it?

Moderna says the drug triggered a strong immune response against the original virus and the BA.1 subvariant. It also generated a good immune response against the later BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. of omicron, according to the British government. However, these are results of laboratory studies that look at disease-fighting antibody levels, which are only one indicator of real-world protection.

Who is currently eligible for dual booster?

The bivalent vaccine has been approved for use as a booster in adults only. So far it is only approved in the UK, where it could play a role in the recall campaign in the fall when people over the age of 50 or with weakened immunity will be offer another injection. Still, British health officials have said people should take any booster offered to them, as existing vaccines continue to provide excellent protection against serious illness and death.

How often will you need to get vaccinated?

It is not yet clear how often boosters – bivalent or otherwise – are needed, but experts consider annual top-ups for vulnerable people to be plausible as Covid immunity wanes over time and the emergence of new variants is inevitable. . It is reasonable to expect that Covid vaccines could be given on an annual schedule similar to that of the flu vaccine, which is also constantly changing.

What’s unclear is whether the shots will require continued updating, as the original vaccines produced at the height of the pandemic still offer defense against serious illness and death.

How safe is the omicron targeting booster?

Moderna says the vaccine’s safety profile is similar to its original Covid vaccine.

(With agency contributions)

Catch all the trade news, market news, breaking events and the latest updates on Live Mint. Download the Mint News app to get daily market updates.

More less

To subscribe to Mint Bulletins

* Enter a valid email

* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Comments are closed.