Covid-19. What we know about the new generation of vaccines adapted to the Omicron variant

Covid-19.  What we know about the new generation of vaccines adapted to the Omicron variant

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on Wednesday August 10 that a Pfizer/BioNTech laboratory anti-Covid vaccine, suitable for Omicron’s BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, could be approved in autumn. A niche on which the Moderna laboratory has also focused, since its new generation of vaccines targeting Omicron has just been approved by the British medicines regulator. What do we really know about these new vaccines ? How many are there and when might they be available? We take stock.

Pfizer: two new vaccines probably for the fall

The European regulator announced on August 8 that the review of an adapted version of Pfizer’s anti-Covid serum targeting Omicron’s BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants had started. Thus, the European Medicines Agency “expects to receive an application for the adapted BA.4/5 vaccine developed by Pfizer /BioNTech […] for potential early approval in the fall,” said an EMA spokesperson.

Like its vaccine already in circulation, this new product uses messenger RNA technology.

But another vaccine could enter the market just before. This is a version targeting the original Covid-19 strain and the earlier BA.1 sub-variant of Omicron. Pfizer has already submitted its application for approval on July 22, according to the European Medicines Agency.

Moderna: a vaccine already approved in the United Kingdom

The new generation of the anti-Covid vaccine developed by Moderna and which targets the Omicron variant was already approved on Monday August 15 by the British drug regulator. A great first in the world, according to the laboratory.

This version of the vaccine, which uses messenger RNA technology like its predecessor, consists of a so-called “bivalent” booster dose, targeting half the original strain of the virus and half the Omicron variant. She “provokes a strong immune response” against both, including against Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, the UK regulator said in a statement. The observed side effects are “typically weak” and similar to those observed for the original serums, the drug agency said.

As for the version of its competitor Pfizer, the application for approval of this new vaccine was filed on July 22 with the European Medicines Agency.

Hipra: an effective vaccine against BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5

Described as “a bivalent recombinant protein vaccine”, the product developed by Hipra was designed from the Alpha and Beta variants. The Spanish laboratory ensured, in a press release published in mid-Julythat his vaccine “Also confers protection against Omicron’s BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants”. It is intended as a booster dose for people aged 16 or over, the European Commission said.

He too is being evaluated by the European Medicines Agency.

The European Commission announced in early August the signature of a contract to acquire up to 250 million doses of this vaccine, once it has received its approval. If it receives marketing authorisation, the 14 countries of the European Union participating in the joint procurement will therefore be able to buy it through the framework contract already in place.

Sanofi-GSK: a French vaccine “against multiple variants”

The French laboratory should soon see its vaccine arrive on the market. It is a recombinant protein vaccine, which uses the Spike protein of the virus as an antigen to help the body recognize it, specifies The cross . If it was not designed specifically against Omicron, Sanofi assures that the results show an effectiveness “by 72% among all adults” against this variant, “and 93.2% efficacy in people who have already been infected with Sars-CoV-2”.

Data from a phase III study show a “significant increase” levels of neutralizing antibodies after injection of the vaccine candidate, reports The Express . An increase in the immune defense which has also been confirmed “against multiple variants of concern”, precise Sanofi. Among them in particular, the BA.1 and BA.2 sub-variants of Omicron.

If it obtains its marketing authorization, this vaccine, developed by Sanofi and GSK, could serve as a booster dose, while European countries fear an epidemic resumption in the fall.

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