Germany’s BioNTech, Pfizer’s partner in COVID-19 vaccines, said the two companies would start tests on humans of next-generation shots that protect against a wide variety of coronaviruses in the second half of the year.
The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted 19-2 that the next wave of COVID booster shots should include a component that targets the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
COVID-19 vaccines this fall are likely to be based on the Omicron variant of the coronavirus rather than the original strain, although some experts suggest they may only offer significant benefits for older and immunocompromised people.
Late-stage data on an experimental COVID-19 vaccine from Sanofi and GSK has showed the shot confers protection against the Omicron variant of the virus, the companies said. The so-called bivalent vaccine targets the Beta variant – first identified in South Africa – as well as the original Wuhan strain of the virus.
COVID-19 vaccines that specifically target the Omicron and other variants are under development, Pfizer Inc.’s chief executive said on Wednesday, adding that the company will be able to quickly adapt shots as the novel coronavirus mutates.
People infected with the earliest version of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, first identified in South Africa in November, may be vulnerable to reinfection with later versions of Omicron even if they have been vaccinated and boosted, new findings suggest.
Bavarian Nordic announced Thursday that the upcoming Phase III trial for ABNCoV2, the Denmark-based biotech company’s COVID-19 booster candidate, has been redesigned to compete against Pfizer-BioNTech’s mRNA-based vaccine.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) started a rolling review on Friday of a variant-adapted COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna, as coronavirus cases linked to Omicron sub-variants see an uptick in the region.
The Omicron variant of coronavirus is less likely to cause long COVID than previous variants, according to the first peer-reviewed study of its kind from the United Kingdom.
People who were infected with an earlier version of the coronavirus and received three doses of an mRNA vaccine – such as the Pfizer/BioNTech shot – appear to be best protected against symptomatic infection by the Omicron variant, according to a large study. Additionally, COVID-19-related neurological symptoms – such as memory and concentration issues – can last half a year or more in some patients, according to a small study.