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EU regulator approves omicron-adapted vaccines

EU regulator approves omicron-adapted vaccines

The EU drugs regulator on Thursday approved omicron-adapted versions of coronavirus vaccines developed by pharma companies BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna.

“EMA’s human medicines committee has recommended authorizing two vaccines adapted to provide broader protection against COVID-19” as a booster shot, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced.

The regulator’s extraordinary meeting was convened to deliver a decision before the start of the fall vaccination campaigns.

“These vaccines are adapted versions of the original vaccines Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech) and Spikevax (Moderna) to target the Omicron BA.1 subvariant in addition to the original strain of” the coronavirus, an EMA statement explained.

According to the agency’s assessment, these jabs “can trigger strong immune responses against Omicron BA.1 and the original SARS-CoV-2 strain in people previously vaccinated.”

The EMA started the rolling review of the adapted Moderna and BioNTech/Pfizer jabs in June.

However, these shots have been developed to protect against an older omicron subvariant and not the fast-spreading BA.4 and B.5 strains which are responsible for most of the coronavirus infections in Europe at the moment.

The EMA is currently gathering information on the clinical trials of another BioNTech/Pfizer jab adapted to the BA.4 and B.5 subvariants.