COVID-19: first vaccine against Ômicron variant is approved
The immunizer was developed by the pharmaceutical company Moderna, in the United Kingdom, and is called bivalent.
The United Kingdom on Monday became the first country to approve an updated version of the vaccine against COVID-19. The immunizer, developed by Moderna pharmaceutical, is bivalent, that is, it has a formulation that involves both the original strain of Sars-CoV-2, discovered in China in 2019, and the Subvariant BA.1 of Ômicronidentified in 2021 in South Africa.
The announcement was made by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Now, the British Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) will decide whether the new vaccine will be incorporated into the vaccination campaign before the next winter, in December in the Northern Hemisphere.
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According to June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA, the first generation of vaccines “continue to provide important protection against disease and to save lives”. “What this bivalent vaccine gives us is a sharp tool in our armor to help us protect against the COVID-19 as the virus continues to evolve,” it said in a statement.
Protection against other subvariants of Ômicron
The rapid evolution of Ômicron, with the emergence of its subvariants (BA.1 to BA.5), has raised concerns on the part of the authorities regarding the efficacy of immunizers developed with the first detected version. Currently, the predominant sublines are BA.4 and BA.5.
According to Moderna, the approved vaccine now also offers protection for these two emerging subvariants. According to phase 2 clinical trials, released by the pharmaceutical company, the immunizer induced an eight-fold increase in the production of antibodies against Omicron BA.1 when applied as a booster. In relation to BA.4 and BA.5, the increase was 6.3 times.
For Professor Munir Pirmohamed, Chair of the MHRA Human Medicines Commission, the new bivalent vaccine “represents the next step in the development of immunizations to fight the virus, with its ability to lead to a broader immune response than the original vaccine.” .
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In addition to the United Kingdom, the application for approval was also made by Moderna in Canada, the European Union and Australia. Brazil does not use vaccines from the pharmaceutical company in its vaccine campaign against COVID-19 and, therefore, should not receive the request.
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