Britain, the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine in late 2020, has now also given the first green light to a variant-adapted shot that targets both the original and Omicron version of the virus.
The UK medicines regulator (MHRA) gave the so-called bivalent vaccine made by US drug company Moderna (MRNA.O) conditional approval as a booster for adults on Monday.
Britain’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is now expected to issue a recommendation soon on how the vaccine should be deployed in the country.
The MHRA’s decision was based on clinical trial data that showed the booster triggered “a strong immune response” against both Omicron (BA.1) and the original 2020 virus, it said.
Moderna in June said trial data showed that when given as a fourth dose, the variant-adapted shot raised virus-neutralizing antibodies by eight-fold against Omicron.