(CNN) — The UK is the first country to approve an updated version of Moderna’s covid-19 vaccine that targets two variants of the coronavirus: the omicron and the original 2020 virus.
“The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved this Monday an updated version of the covid-19 vaccine manufactured by Moderna that targets two variants of the coronavirus (known as a “bivalent” vaccine) for booster doses in adults, after verifying that it meets the safety, quality and efficacy standards of the UK regulatory body,” read an official government statement on Monday.
Half of the booster, dubbed “Original/Omicron bivalent Spikevax,” targets the original variant of the coronavirus, while the other half targets omicron, according to the statement.
The UK government said the decision to approve the vaccine was backed by the MHRA, the government’s independent scientific advisory body, after carefully reviewing the evidence.
It was approved following the results of a clinical trial, in which modern reported that their omicron-directed boost showed a stronger immune response against the variant. The company claimed that its updated booster also showed a “strong” response against the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants.
The MHRA described the side effects as the same as those of the original Moderna booster dose, saying they were “typically mild and self-limiting.”
“No serious security issues were identified,” according to the British government statement.
As COVID-19 continues to mutate, MHRA Executive Director Dr. June Raine said Moderna’s new booster will help keep communities safe.
“The first generation of Covid-19 vaccines being used in the UK continue to provide important protection against the disease and save lives. What this bivalent vaccine gives us is a further fine-tuned tool in our arsenal to help protect against this disease while the virus continues to evolve,” he explained.
It is not yet clear who will be offered the booster or when. The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) will advise on the rollout of the vaccine.
Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, said on Twitter that he was “delighted” that the vaccine had been approved.
“This represents the first authorization of a bivalent vaccine containing omicron, this bivalent vaccine has an important role to play in protecting people in the UK from covid-19 as we enter the winter months,” he said.
Source: CNN Espanol