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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday it had recommended Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for children and adolescents aged 6 to 17, allowing a rollout of the shots to begin for that age group.

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.

The United States has already delivered more than 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 years old to sites that will administer the shots, a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spokesperson said on Thursday.

DEM BioPharma, backed by an impressive list of investors, debuted Thursday with $70 million that will assist in its efforts to treat cancer with an approach that leverages CRISPR screening and macrophage biology in immuno-oncology. 

GSK and Novartis reinforced commitments on Thursday to tackle neglected tropical diseases, as world leaders and health experts gather in Rwanda to discuss ways to better combat illnesses affecting more than a billion people, mostly in impoverished communities.

Moderna Inc. said on Wednesday that an updated version of its COVID-19 vaccine designed to target the Omicron variant also generated a strong immune response against the fast-spreading Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, which have gained a foothold in the U.S. in recent weeks.

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.

The United States has begun distributing COVID vaccines for children as young as six months around the country, and availability of the shots will improve in the coming days, according to White House COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha.

People in socially and economically disadvantaged regions are about half as likely to receive an oral antiviral COVID-19 pill than residents of wealthier zip codes, according to a U.S. government study published on Tuesday.

The rollout in the United States this week of COVID vaccines for children as young as six months is likely to start slowly, and then pick up in the coming days, according to White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha.