Entirely new variants of Covid-19 may emerge this winter, the European Medicines Agency has announced. From there, they add that the vaccines available now should protect people from serious illness and death.
The statement by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) comes as European Union countries prepare to launch a campaign to administer booster doses to their citizens ahead of the looming next wave of new Covid cases later this year. it will be possible to use preparations adapted for the now dominant Omicron variant, as well as the original vaccines developed to fight the virus, which first appeared in China in 2019.
But people “shouldn’t wait for a specific vaccine,” the agency’s vaccine division chief, Marco Cavalleri, told a news conference. He added that it is “entirely possible that a completely new variant will emerge that we are unable to predict today”. Yesterday the European Medicines Agency approved Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna’s adapted vaccines designed to deal with the older Omicron’s BA.1 subvariant. Pfizer’s version, updated for the now dominant strains BA.4 and 5, is expected to be approved for use in mid-September, and Moderna’s is also in the pipeline. The new vaccines adapted to Omicron will largely be reserved for boosters for the elderly, vulnerable, pregnant women and healthcare workers, Cavalleri said.
The original vaccines designed to deal with the first strain of the coronavirus will be available for mass administration. They can still protect against severe disease and death, the agency added, adding that it was “not out of the question” that this winter’s new variants could be closer to the earlier Omicron strains, which have now largely been superseded. of types BA.4 and 5.