Britain has become the first country in the world to approve Moderna’s bivalent Covid-19 vaccine, which targets both the original strain of the virus and the new Omicron variant.
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LONDON — Britain on Monday became the first country in the world to approve a dual Covid-19 vaccine, which attacks both the original virus and the new omicron variant.
The update Modern The vaccine – known as bivalent because it targets two variants – is set to be available to adults as a booster from the autumn after receiving the green light from the UK Medicines and Products Regulatory Agency on Monday health.
It has also received endorsement from the UK government’s independent scientific advisory body, the Commission on Human Medicines.
The MHRA said while the existing vaccines – which were designed to combat the original strain of Covid – continue to provide good protection, the augmented version would offer better defense as the virus evolves.
“The first generation of Covid-19 vaccines used in the UK continue to provide significant protection against disease and save lives. What this bivalent vaccine gives us is a sharp tool in our arsenal to help protect us against this disease as the virus continues to evolve,” said MHRA chief executive Dr June Raine.
Better protection against variants
The Commission for Medicinal Products for Human Use added that the approval marks a step forward for vaccine development, particularly for high-level mutation viruses.
“The virus, SARS-CoV-2, is continually evolving in order to evade the immunity provided by vaccines. This new bivalent vaccine represents the next step in the development of vaccines to combat the virus, with its ability to lead to broader immunity. response than the original vaccine.”
The approval follows clinical trials, in which a boost with Moderna’s bivalent vaccine was found to elicit a strong immune response against the original 2020 strain as well as the omicron BA.1, which appeared in the UK. United last winter.
This bivalent vaccine has an important role to play in protecting people in the UK against Covid-19 as we enter the winter months.
It was also found to generate a good immune response against the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, currently the dominant strains in the country.
Following the publication of its conclusions in JuneModerna chief executive Stephane Bancel said he hopes the new iteration will become its “leading candidate for a fall 2022 recall.”
“This bivalent vaccine has an important role to play in protecting people in the UK against Covid-19 as we enter the winter months,” Bancel added in a press release on Monday.
The UK government has yet to announce exactly who will get the vaccine, but all over-50s and people in high-risk groups in the UK will be offered some form of booster from next month.
The government has lowered the age threshold for those eligible to a fall booster in Julyfollowing the continued spread of the virus.
Vaccines are considered one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread and severity of the virus. A search in the medical journal The Lancet estimated in June that Covid-19 vaccines averted nearly 20 million deaths in their first year of use.