Scientists Bet on Mixed COVID Vaccine Coverage for Original Strain and Omicron Variants |  UK News

Scientists Bet on Mixed COVID Vaccine Coverage for Original Strain and Omicron Variants | UK News

The new generation vaccine has built-in insurance against the evolving COVID virus.

The jab made by Moderna, and Pfizer is not far behind with its own version, still triggers an immune response against the original version of the Wuhan virus. But it also adds protection against the Omicron family of variants that has become so dominant this year.

The call bivalent or dual-target vaccine it is the first to be approved by the UK medical regulator.

Clinical trials have shown that it is safe and generates a much higher antibody response to Omicron.

The existing vaccine is less effective against the variant: it still provides good protection against death and hospitalization, but it doesn’t prevent people from becoming infected, particularly a few months after receiving the vaccine.

Omicron is likely to remain dominant this fall and winter, so it makes sense to update the jab to try to reduce the level of infections in the population.

But why keep adding genetic material from the original 2020 virus if it has all but disappeared?

It’s because the health authorities are hedging their bets.

The pandemic has shown us that the virus is unpredictable. A new variant that looks more like the Wuhan strain could come out of nowhere. And the original virus caused many more deaths.

Combining protection against multiple viruses is the tried and tested approach already used in the flu vaccine.

That shot contains elements of three or, more generally, four different strains of influenza in the hope that it will protect people for months to come.

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What’s new in modern COVID-19 jab still needs to be approved by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization. Committee experts will decide whether the vaccine should replace Moderna’s current booster.

Everyone over 50, younger people with some medical conditions, and health and care workers should get an extra shot this fall.

It seems likely that they will get the updated jab.

Moderna has already agreed to supply the bivalent vaccine to EU countries this winter, if it receives the go-ahead from European medical regulators.

The JCVI doesn’t always align with its EU counterpart, so it could choose to stick with the current vaccine.

Is this the only adjustment to the vaccine?

You wouldn’t bet on it.

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UK approves new COVID vaccine

The updated jab protects against a broader range of mutations in the virus. But COVID will continue to evolve and, by chance, could spawn something new that outwits our immune systems.

Then go back to the drawing board.

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