(CNN) — Covid-19 booster shots could look a little different by the end of this year in the US.
Last week, US regulators advised manufacturers to update the Covid-19 vaccine in time for the fall booster schedule with new formulations that better protect against the more infectious omicron subvariants, which are dominating transmissions of the virus. coronavirus in the United States.
“We have advised manufacturers who want to update their COVID-19 vaccines to develop modified vaccines that add an omicron spike protein component BA.4/5 to the current vaccine composition…so that the vaccines modified cells can potentially be used as early as mid-fall 2022,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said last Thursday. acronym in English).
The FDA has not advised manufacturers to change the main vaccine for those who have not yet been vaccinated against covid-19.
That same day, the Biden administration announced that it had agreed to purchase 105 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine for delivery later this year. “This may include COVID-19 vaccines tailored for adults, subject to authorization,” Pfizer said in a statement.
While current vaccines have provided strong protection against severe disease since they were rolled out in late 2020, the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of omicron are better able to evade immunity from previous vaccines and infections. Jen Christensen reports.
The BA.4/5 subvariants have been associated with an increase in cases in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Germany and France. And the rise in infections comes as a previous study, based on the health records of more than 5.6 million people treated in the Veterans Affairs health system, found that getting repeatedly sick from Covid-19 appears to increase the chances. of a person facing new and sometimes long-lasting health problems after their infection.
As cases rise, some in the US are wondering when the younger population will be vaccinated again. Marks said last Tuesday that a conversation will be held to determine who needs another booster and what that booster will look like. At the moment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) they only recommend the fourth dose to those over 50 years of age and those who are immunocompromised.
Meanwhile, vaccine makers Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax have already been testing updated versions of their vaccines, including some bivalent vaccines targeting omicron variants.