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FDA Advisors Lean Into Modifying COVID-19 Vaccines to Be Omicron-Specific

June 29, 2022 by Alexa Hornbeck
This Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, file photo shows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration building behind FDA logos at a bus stop on the agency's campus in Silver Spring, Md. (Associated Press)

Key advisors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration met on Tuesday to examine COVID-19 vaccines and whether there is need for modification as protection wanes.

During the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting, a majority of the panel, 19-2, ruled in favor of manufacturing an omicron-containing booster, specifically targeting the BA.4 and BA.5 variants.

There were also considerations for creating a bivalent vaccine that would contain omicron and the original SARS-CoV-2 strain. 

The use of Novavax, a protein-based, non-mRNA vaccine that has not yet received an emergency use authorization from the FDA, was also discussed as a potential future booster. 

Some of the advisors examined whether the vaccine might work better at fighting against omicron infection as it includes an adjuvant that may not require revisions with emerging COVID-19 variants. 

How quickly manufacturers could revise the vaccine formula to target omicron was also discussed. Pfizer indicated it could have such a vaccine product available by the first week of October, and Moderna by late October or early November. 

Alexa can be reached at alexa@thewellnews.com

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