Covid-19: the European Medicines Agency could authorize the first vaccines against Omicron

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European countries are eagerly awaiting vaccines targeting the Omicron variant so they can launch booster campaigns ahead of the feared resurgence in Covid-19 cases this winter.

The European medicines regulator could authorize this Thursday the first vaccines against Covid-19 specifically targeting the Omicron variant, but only the BA.1 subvariant, and the latest BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants have not yet appeared.

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The European Medicines Agency (EMA) plans to discuss this Thursday at an extraordinary meeting the possible approval of two suitable vaccines, that of Pfizer/BioNTech and that of Moderna.

“The aim of the meeting is to conclude the evaluation of the two applications, if possible,” the Amsterdam-based EMA said. “We will communicate the results of the meeting on September 1,” she said.

“Since Autumn”

The two so-called “bivalent” vaccines that could receive the green light from the EMA on Thursday target the original strain of the coronavirus, which emerged in China in 2019, and Omicron’s earlier BA.1 subvariant. However, they do not target the contagious BA.4 and BA.5 lineages of the Omicron variant, which have emerged in recent months as the world’s dominant strains.

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However, the EMA recently said it was targeting approval “as early as the fall” of a Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine targeting the two Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.

US health authorities on Wednesday authorized the new version of Pfizer and Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccines specifically targeting the BA.4 and BA.5 lineages of the Omicron variant.

The same vaccinations for two years.

Member states of the European Union are currently still using the same coronavirus vaccines approved two years ago for use against the original strain of the virus.

They offer some protection against Omicron and its sub-variants, which are less damaging but more contagious than the original strain, but the world is waiting for more targeted and effective vaccines, fearing a new wave this winter.

Omicron and its sub-variants have been dominant throughout 2022, quickly taking the place of previous Alpha and Delta variants. The BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are notably responsible for a wave of new cases in Europe and the United States in recent months.

Author: GA with AFP
Source: BFM TV

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