The mRNA-based shot was initially approved as a booster in August, becoming Japan’s first home-grown shot for the coronavirus.

In a less-than-shocking development, the top drugs of the launch class of 2021 were all for preventing or treating everyone’s least favorite virus.

“The risk remains of a more dangerous variant emerging that could cause a sudden increase in cases and deaths,” Tedros said, adding that the agency is publishing a risk evaluation report on it today.

The decision by the expert panel, delivered on Monday evening, sets up the vaccine for full approval by the government.

The companies are seeking approval of the updated vaccine both as a primary and a booster dose for individuals 12 years and above.

Sinopharm, now the China distributor of Merck & Co’s COVID-19 antiviral treatment molnupiravir, said its biotech unit received clinical trial approval from the National Medical Products Administration.

The extension allows millions of Americans to continue receiving free tests, vaccines, and treatments.

Moderna Inc. said its Omicron-tailored vaccines produced a better immune response against the BA.4/5 subvariants in a mid-to-late stage study, when given as a booster dose, compared with its original shot.

Britain’s health regulator on Wednesday approved a COVID-19 booster from Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech SE targeting the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants and the original coronavirus strain.

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE said on Friday their Omicron-tailored shot targeting the BA.4/5 subvariants produced a strong antibody response in humans than the original shot after one month.