UK regulator approves Moderna’s ‘updated’ Covid booster, targets two variants
A Covid-19 vaccine developed by Moderna, designed to target two different variants of Coronavirus has been approved by the UK regulator to be used as booster vaccine in people above age of 18 years. The “updated” Covid vaccine developed by Moderna targets original coronavirus as well as the Omicron variant BA.1, that had triggered Covid wave last winter across the UK.
With this, the United Kingdom has become the first country to approve the bivalent vaccine, known as “Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron”. It is now up to the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to decide if it will be used for planned autumn booster programme, which is expected to begin in September.
Dr June Raine, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) chief executive, said: “I am pleased to announce the approval of the Moderna bivalent booster vaccine, which was found in the clinical trial to provide a strong immune response against the Omicron BA.1 variant as well as the original 2020 strain.”
“The first generation of Covid-19 vaccines being used in the UK continue to provide important protection against the disease and save lives. What this bivalent vaccine gives us is a sharpened tool in our armoury to help protect us against this disease as the virus continues to evolve.”
Prof Sir Munir Pirmohamed, the chair of the Commission on Human Medicines, that has independently reviewed the vaccine data, has shared agreement with the MHRA’s decision. “The virus, Sars-CoV-2, is continually evolving in order to evade the immunity provided by vaccines. This novel bivalent vaccine represents the next step in the development of vaccines to combat the virus, with its ability to lead to a broader immune response than the original vaccine,” he said.
Stéphane Bancel, the chief executive officer of Moderna, said, “This represents the first authorization of an Omicron-containing bivalent vaccine, this bivalent vaccine has an important role to play in protecting people in the UK from Covid-19 as we enter the winter months.”