WHO panel backs use of Omicron-adapted vaccine as booster dose

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A modified coronavirus vaccine that targets the Omicron variant can be administered as a booster dose to broaden immunity, a technical advisory group set up the World Health Organization said on Friday.

Such a variant-adapted vaccine may benefit those who have already received the primary series of shots, the agency’s panel on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition said, citing available data.

The vaccines could be considered for use globally by the agency once they get emergency use authorisation or an approval by a stringent national regulatory authority.

Vaccine makers including Moderna (MRNA.O) and Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) are developing a potential next generation booster targeted at both the Omicron variant as well as the original strain of the coronavirus.

Moderna last week said a new version of its vaccine produced a better immune response against Omicron than the original shot, while the European Medicines Agency this week began rolling reviews of the variant-adapted COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer.