‘Completely new’ COVID strains possible in winter: EU drug agency

by | Sep 2, 2022 | World

Existing vaccines and adaptive ones should protect people from serious illness and death, the EU agency says.Entirely new COVID-19 variants could emerge this winter, the European Union’s drug agency has said, but existing vaccines should protect people from serious illness and death.
As the 27-nation EU prepares to roll out a booster campaign ahead of a feared wave of new coronavirus cases later this year, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) stressed that the virus is still circulating and is evolving quickly.
“There might be a completely new variant emerging that we are not able to predict today,” EMA vaccines chief Marco Cavaleri told a news conference on Friday.
Europe’s strategy is therefore to have a broad range of updated vaccines, meaning the “arsenal” of available inoculation will include adaptive vaccines tailored to respond to and anticipate the spread of new variants.
On Thursday, the EMA approved vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna that are adapted to tackle the older BA 1 subvariant of Omicron.
A Pfizer version updated for the now-dominant BA 4 and 5 strains should be authorised in mid-September, while a similar Moderna jab is also in the pipeline.
The new Omicron-adapted jabs will largely be reserved for boosters for the elderly, the vulnerable, pregnant women and healthcare workers, Cavaleri said.
Most people will instead still get the original vaccin …

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