The The UK became the first country to approve Moderna’s bivalent vaccine on Monday. developed to attack the original virus of the covid-19 and the new omicron variantreported the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA, for its acronym in English).
With this decision, the vaccine is expected to be used as a booster next fall, although the number of doses available is unknown at this time.
The health authorities had already indicated that – starting next September – a booster vaccine will be offered to those over 50 years of age and to people who are in the highest risk groups.
The original vaccines used during the pandemic they were developed to combat the original form of the virus that emerged in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, but since then the virus has mutated with the emergence of new variants that can evade the immune system, which has caused outbreaks of the disease in many countries.
With this bivalent vaccine, a single injection is expected to be needed in adults only once a year.
Known as mRNA-1273.214, the dose is an updated version of the Moderna vaccine that is already given as a first, second and booster dose, and is now an approved dose in the UK that targets two strains of the virus.
According to the MHRA, side effects from the vaccine are the same as those seen with Moderna’s original booster dose and were generally mild.
MHRA chief executive June Raine described the new booster as “a sharp tool in our arsenal” to protect the UK against covid-19.
“I am pleased to announce the approval of the Moderna bivalent booster vaccine” in order to “provide a strong immune response against the Omicron BA.1 variant, as well as the original 2020 strain,” Raine added.
Moderna’s chief medical officer, Paul Burton, said the new injection can boost a person’s antibodies to levels so high that it may only be needed annually.
Stephane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, described it as a “next generation Covid-19 vaccine” that will play an “important role in protecting people in the UK against Covid-19” over the winter.
“We are delighted with the MHRA authorization of Spikevax Bivalent Original/Omicron, our next generation Covid-19 vaccine,” Bancel told the media.
“This represents the first authorization of a bivalent vaccine containing Omicron, further highlighting the dedication and leadership of UK public health authorities in helping to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” it added. (YO)