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Covid-19: laboratories on the war footing to adapt their vaccine to the Omicron variant

2021-11-27T14:47:12.882Z

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna say they are ready, if necessary, to quickly update their current vaccines to make them effective against the Omicron variant.



For several days, the French government and the European Union have called on the population to be administered a dose of booster vaccine to stem the epidemic rebound observed.

However, uncertainty already hangs over the protection offered by this third dose.

Read alsoCovid-19: Omicron, the new variant that worries the world

In recent days, the emergence of a new variant, called Omicron, which has appeared in South Africa, has raised concerns in laboratories that their currently administered vaccines will become much less effective against this new strain of Covid-19. Against the backdrop of this question: should we already design new versions of the four vaccines authorized in the European Union?

The European Medicines Agency recommends for the moment to study this new strain in order to know the real danger it presents to health.

“We are closely monitoring the newly emerged B.1.1.529 variant, which has numerous mutations in the Covid-19 spike protein.

(...) It is premature at the moment to foresee the adaptation of vaccines in order to fight against this emerging variant, ”

the Amsterdam-based institution said in a statement.

New version available in 100 days

For their part, the laboratories are busy analyzing this new variant likely to make their vaccines partially obsolete.

"We immediately launched studies on the B.1.1.529 variant"

which

"clearly differs from already known variants because it has additional mutations on the spike protein

,

"

said a spokesperson for Pfizer BioNTech on Friday.

The group ensures that the results of these studies will be known

"at the latest in two weeks"

and says it is ready to develop a new version of its vaccine if necessary

.

"

We have taken measures there are months to adapt the vaccine mRNA in 6 weeks and ship the first batches in 100 days in case of varying escapes immunity

"

,

says the spokesperson for Pfizer , which explains that it has already conducted clinical trials to produce vaccines specific to the previous Alpha and Delta variants.

Pressure from the European Union

Its competitor Moderna promises

"to rapidly develop a vaccine candidate for a booster dose specific to the Omicron variant".

According to his boss Stéphane Bancel, this is part of a

“proactive”

strategy

of permanent adaptation to the evolution of the virus, illustrated in recent months by the development of booster doses adapted to the Alpha and Delta strains.

The laboratories are under pressure from the European Union, which apprehends the spread of the Omicron variant on the continent.

The President of the European Commission thus reminded vaccine manufacturers of their contractual obligations.

"The contracts of the European Union with the manufacturers stipulate that the vaccine must be adapted immediately to the variants as soon as they emerge,"

Ursula von der Leyen insisted on Friday at a conference.

As for the feasibility of such an update of the vaccine, British scientist Andrew Pollard who led the research on the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine against the coronavirus believes that a new version could be developed

"very quickly"

against the Omicron variant.

Source: lefigaro

All business articles on 2021-11-27

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