A new generation of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, targeting the omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, has been approved in the United Kingdom, the British medicines regulator announced on Monday.
This version of the vaccine, a world first, has a booster dose that targets half the original virus variant and half the Ómicron variant.
The new version “stimulates a stronger immune response” against both Omicron strains, including BA.4 and BA.5, “with fewer side effects” than the original sera, the Medicines and Medical Devices Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said in a statement.
The MHRA approved the new generation vaccine for “booster doses for adults” because it “meets the British regulator’s safety, quality and efficacy standards”.
The observed side effects were “generally mild and similar to those seen with the original serums,” he said.
“This bivalent vaccine gives us a great tool to help protect against this disease as the virus continues to evolve,” MHRA director June Raine said in a press release.
Moderna’s director general Stephane Bancel was quoted by Agence France-Presse (AFP) as saying that this “new generation” vaccine could play a “key role” against Covid-19.
Last week, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it expects autumn approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19.
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned in July that the pandemic is “far from over”, with the spread of Ómicron strains, lifting of hygiene restrictions and fewer choices.
Covid-19 cases increased globally in the late spring and early summer, driven by new strains, and cases are expected to rise again in the fall and winter.
The United Kingdom is one of the countries worst hit by the pandemic in Europe, with almost 180,000 deaths linked to Covid-19.
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