FDA panel recommends updated omicron COVID booster shot

The COVID-19 vaccine will undergo updates to effectively combat future strains of omicron.

Esteban Felix/AP


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Esteban Felix/AP


The COVID-19 vaccine will undergo updates to effectively combat future strains of omicron.

Esteban Felix/AP

A panel of expert advisers convened by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unanimously recommended updating the COVID-19 vaccine to target emerging subvariants of omicron. This move is aimed at staying ahead of the evolving virus and protecting the population from future strains.

The existing COVID vaccine, known as a “bivalent” vaccine, was developed to target both the original strain of the coronavirus and the omicron subvariants that were dominant during the previous winter. However, considering the ongoing mutations in the virus, the FDA panel advised shifting to a “monovalent” vaccine that exclusively focuses on combating omicron subvariants. The updated shots would be introduced in preparation for a potential increase in cases later this year.

In their analysis, FDA scientists highlighted that vaccine manufacturers’ data shows that an updated monovalent formulation targeting XBB subvariants generates a stronger neutralizing antibody response against XBB strains compared to the current bivalent vaccines.

Currently, the XBB.1.5 strain is responsible for approximately 40% of new COVID-19 infections in the United States.

Please note that this is an evolving story.

 

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