Covid: Moderna is working on a recall dedicated to the Omicron variant

Posted on Nov 27, 2021 9:27 AM

Will the new variant of Covid, called “Omicron” and classified as “worrying” by the World Health Organization (WHO) escape vaccines? His changes, numerous, worry. So much so that vaccine manufacturers are taking the lead.

The American biotech Moderna announced Friday its intention to develop a specific booster dose for this new product initially detected in South Africa. “Moderna will rapidly develop a vaccine candidate for a booster dose specific to the Omicron variant,” the company said in a statement.

Clinical trials in 90 days

The announcement is part of a strategy to work on specific booster doses for variants of concern, according to Moderna. In 2020-2021, the laboratory had already worked on booster doses for the Delta and Beta variants. Moderna estimates that it has the capacity to “get new candidates into clinical trials in 60-90 days”.

“From the start, we said that to fight the pandemic, it was imperative to be proactive in the face of the evolution of the virus,” said the boss of Moderna, Stéphane Bancel, quoted in the press release. “The mutations of the Omicron variant are worrying and for several days we have been moving as quickly as possible to execute our strategy to fight against this variant”, he added.

The German laboratory BioNTech, allied with Pfizer, also said to study this new variant, and to wait “at the latest in two weeks” of first results of studies which will make it possible to determine if it is able to escape the vaccine protection. Both partners say they can redesign their product within six weeks and ship the first batches within 100 days, BioNTech said.

It will take “several weeks” to understand the level of transmissibility and virulence of the new variant, the WHO spokesperson said on Friday. For the European Medicines Agency (EMA), it is “premature” to provide for an adaptation of the vaccines to the Omicron variant.

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