Updated Covid-19 Vaccines Could Be Approved As Soon As Next Week



Courtesy of Instagram
Updated Covid-19 booster vaccines could be available in the U.S. as early as next week, pending expected authorization by the Food and Drug Administration and eligibility recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A CDC panel is scheduled to meet on Sept. 12 to determine who will be eligible for the updated vaccines, with the boosters available a short time later.
The booster is expected to be available to those older than 65 and the immunocompromised, but it’s unclear whether it will be recommended for other groups.
The updated monovalent vaccine targets the XBB.1.5 omicron subvariant and related lineages, but vaccine manufacturers say it will offer protection against all variants currently in circulation.
Moderna said its updated vaccine protects against newer variants including the latest omicron subvariant, BA.2.86, nicknamed “Pirola.”
Pfizer, meanwhile, said in a recent statement that pre-clinical data show its updated Omicron XBB.1.5-adapted vaccine “generates an improved response against multiple XBB-related sublineages, including XBB.1.5, XBB.1.16, XBB.2.3, and EG.5.1 (Eris).”
According to the CDC, Covid hospitalizations have been climbing in recent weeks, and are likely to continue increasing in the coming weeks.
The agency reported 17,418 hospital admissions for Covid-19 infections in the week ending Aug. 26, the last week for which data were available, up 15.7% from the week before. The agency reported that deaths due to Covid-19 were up 17.6% from the week before.
In the latest forecast published Sept. 4, the agency predicted that hospital admissions will increase, with potentially up to 10,000 daily admissions reported on Oct. 2.
Although Pirola is gaining a foothold in the U.S., the plurality of infections are currently being caused by EG.5, a mutation of the XBB variant, according to the CDC. It isn’t yet known if Pirola will become the dominant strain.
In a risk assessment published Aug. 23, the CDC said existing tests and treatments “appear to be effective” with Pirola.
The CDC said its researchers are still evaluating the updated vaccine expected to be introduced this month, but that its current assessment is that it “will be effective at reducing severe disease and hospitalization.”
TMX contributed to this article.