Adapted, dual-strain vaccinations to increase COVID-19 immunity

EU officials have sounded the alarm on a new wave of COVID-19 cases in the continent.

A European health official said today that modified versions of well-known mRNA COVID-19 vaccines that address two variants in one shot will soon provide patients with stronger protection than vaccines that are currently available. Working on vaccines based on a combination of the original virus and an Omicron subvariant are Moderna and the BioNTech-Pfizer alliance. These are intended for use in the autumn vaccination campaign and are referred to as bivalent injections. The effectiveness of the current coronavirus vaccines has decreased as the virus has mutated, despite the fact that they still offer substantial protection against hospitalization and death. There has been an increase in hospitalizations and a new wave of COVID-19 cases on the continent.

"We project that by the end of this month the BA.5 sub lineage will be the dominant variant in most of the EU countries," Pierre Delsaux, the director EU's Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority, told members of the European Parliament in a hearing. At this stage, no final decision has been made on which Omicron variant BA.1 or BA.4/BA.5 the autumn vaccine campaign should use, since none of the shots have been yet endorsed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), he said. The EMA indicated on Friday that it is open to using vaccines targeting the older BA.1 variant for that campaign, given that the vaccines targeting the newer BA.4 and BA.5 strains have only recently entered clinical development.