The approval for the shot from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency follows the European regulatory panel’s recommendation on Thursday.
Today the company said clinical trial data showed its updated COVID-19 vaccine will likely be effective against the highly-mutated BA.2.86 subvariant of the coronavirus that has raised fears of a resurgence of infections.
The UK drug regulator said on Tuesday it has approved an updated COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech that targets only the Omicron XBB.1.5 subvariant.
A new COVID vaccine is due out next month, but health experts and analysts say it is likely to be coolly received even as hospitalizations from “Eris”, a variant of the Omicron form of the coronavirus, rise around the country.
The companies are seeking approval of the updated vaccine both as a primary and a booster dose for individuals 12 years and above.
The treatment is not expected to neutralize the currently dominant XBB.1.5 subvariant of Omicron.
The new test specifically targets the XBB.1.5 Omicron variant and will help researchers closely track the virus’s lineage and provide insights into the epidemiology and impact it has on public health.
The U.S. health regulator proposed the use of one dose of the latest updated COVID-19 shot annually for healthy adults, similar to the influenza immunization campaign, as it aims to simplify the country’s current COVID-vaccine strategy.
The subvariant is estimated to have accounted for 49.1% of COVID cases in the country in the week ended Jan. 21, compared with 37.2% estimated last week.
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.