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In a first, updated Moderna vaccine that targets both original & Omicron variants approved in UK

Google Oneindia News

London, Aug 15: In a first, the UK has approved an updated Covid-19 vaccine which can target both, the original and the Omicron variant of the virus. The 'bivalent vaccine', as it is known, made by US drug company Moderna, was approved by the UK medicines regulator (MHRA) as a booster for adults.

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"The decision to grant approval for this booster vaccine in the UK was endorsed by the government's independent expert scientific advisory body, the Commission on Human Medicines, after carefully reviewing the evidence," the MHRA said in a statement.

In each dose of the booster vaccine, 'Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron', half of the vaccine (25 micrograms) targets the original virus strain from 2020 and the other half (25 micrograms) targets Omicron.

The MHRA's decision is based on data from a clinical trial which showed that a booster with the bivalent Moderna vaccine triggers a strong immune response against both Omicron (BA.1) and the original 2020 strain. In an exploratory analysis the bivalent vaccine was also found to generate a good immune response against the Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.

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Safety monitoring showed that the side effects observed were the same as those seen for the original Moderna booster dose and were typically mild and self-resolving, and no serious safety concerns were identified.

"I am pleased to announce the approval of the Moderna bivalent booster vaccine, which was found in the clinical trial to provide a strong immune response against the Omicron BA.1 variant as well as the original 2020 strain," said Dr June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive.

"The first generation of COVID-19 vaccines being used in the UK continue to provide important protection against the disease and save lives. What this bivalent vaccine gives us is a sharpened tool in our armoury to help protect us against this disease as the virus continues to evolve," she said.

"We have in place a comprehensive safety surveillance strategy for monitoring the safety of all UK-approved COVID-19 vaccines and this will include the vaccine approved today," she added.

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