UK Approves First Bivalent COVID-19 Booster Vaccine

The United Kingdom has approved Moderna’s bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, which targets the original variant and Omicron.

The United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced on August 15, 2022 that it has approved a bivalent version of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine that targets both the original and Omicron strains of the virus. The decision follows an endorsement of the booster from the UK’s Commission on Human Medicines, the government’s independent scientific advisory board.

According to an agency press release, the decision was based on a clinical trial which demonstrated that the booster triggers a strong immune response against the original COVID-19 strain and BA.1, the first Omicron strain. It also demonstrated a good immune response against Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5. Side-effects and overall safety profile were found to be the same as those in the original vaccine.

“The first generation of COVID-19 vaccines being used in the UK continue to provide important protection against the disease and save lives,” said June Raine, chief executive, MHRA, in the release. “What this bivalent vaccine gives us is a sharpened tool in our armory to help protect us against this disease as the virus continues to evolve.”

“The virus, SARS-CoV-2, is continually evolving in order to evade the immunity provided by vaccines,” said Munir Pirmohamed, chair, Commission on Human Medicines, in the release. “This novel bivalent vaccine represents the next step in the development of vaccines to combat the virus, with its ability to lead to a broader immune response than the original vaccine.”

Source: MHRA