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Federal Health Officials Say Omicron-Targeted Shots May Not Be Necessary: WSJ

As COVID-19 vaccine makers are working on omicron-specific shots, federal health authorities say there are signs they might not be necessary, writes Wall Street Journal.

  • However, research continues, officials say doses targeting the new variant might be needed longer-term, especially if it winds up crowding out earlier strains globally.
  • The U.S. omicron surge has triggered concerns that vaccines might need to be tweaked to specifically target the strain because existing shots don’t appear to work as well against it.
  • Related: South African Study Shows Omicron Variant Could Escape Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Protection.
  • Peter Marks, FDA’s vaccine regulator, said. “By the time we get an omicron-specific vaccine manufactured, this wave will be over.”
  • Dr. Marks said the next two months should show whether Omicron is likely to predominate over the long term, out-competing other strains.
  • Researchers also want to see how the immune responses generated by an omicron-targeted shot compare with those from original vaccines. 
  • Drugmakers, including Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE), its partner BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX), and Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA), are working on modified shots.
  • Related: Pfizer’s Omicron-Targeted Vaccine Expected To Be Ready In March: CEO Says On CNBC.
  • “We have strong evidence that, with a boost, current vaccines work well,” said John Mascola, director of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
  • Also, earlier this week, a World Health Organization technical advisory group said that current vaccines might need to be updated to provide sufficient protection.
  • Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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