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FDA Advisers Say A Plan Is Needed For Updating COVID19 Vaccines

FDA Advisers Say A Plan Is Needed For Updating COVID19 Vaccines

The Covid-19 vaccinations that people receive in the future could be completely different formulations than the current vaccines, which are a composition based on the original version of the virus that emerged in late 2019.

The future of Covid-19 vaccines, including when and how often booster doses might be needed, remains “unclear and complex,” according to advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) detailed in a meeting on Wednesday how emerging coronavirus variants and the future use of Covid-19 booster shots would be approached and coordinated. The advisers plan to continue their conversation in the coming months as the virus continues to mutate and evolve to survive.

Various research teams from different institutions also are working to develop a “pan-coronavirus” vaccine — one that offers protection against multiple variants of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. The hope is that such a vaccine could pave the way for the development of a universal coronavirus vaccine, which could head off any coronavirus and even the menacing threat of novel coronaviruses not yet identified.

Some companies, including Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, are developing variant-specific vaccines that could target whatever variant of the coronavirus is circulating when that booster might be needed. For instance, Pfizer and Moderna have each said they are working on a vaccine that would specifically protect against the Omicron variant, even though it’s not clear whether one is needed. The goal is to create “something that can protect for at least a year,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

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