COVID-19: Existing Vaccines May Need Upgrade, Experts Warn |

Opinion contained in interim statement from WHO Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 The composition of the vaccine, which was created in September last year.

Greater access

Amid increasing circulation of Omicron, members called for “urgent and widespread access” to current vaccines around the world, both to protect and mitigate the emergence of new variants of concern, or VOCs.

18 experts are developing a framework for the analysis of data on new VOCs “in the context of criteria that will lead to a recommendation to change the composition of the COVID-19 vaccine strain and will advise WHO on updated vaccine formulations as needed.”

They said that vaccines are needed and must be developed that have a great impact on preventing infection and transmission, in addition to preventing serious illness and death.

Until such vaccines are available and as SARS-CoV-2 evolves, existing COVID-19 vaccines may need to be updated to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide WHO recommended levels of protection against infection. and VOC diseases, including Omicron and future options. “ they wrote.

The technical advisory group will consider changing the formulation of the vaccine to ensure that doses continue to meet WHO criteria, including protection against severe disease, and to improve protection from vaccination.

Contacting manufacturers

Vaccines should be “based on strains that are genetically and antigenically close” to the circulating variants.

In addition, they must protect against serious illness and death and be more effective against infection, thereby reducing transmission of the virus and the need for stringent public health and social measures.

The Panel has urged COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to generate and provide efficacy data for current vaccines and vaccines specific to Omicron, which will be used in any decision when vaccine formulation changes may be required.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus first appeared in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and continues to evolve. To date, WHO has identified five options of concern: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Omicron.

“While the Omicron variant is rapidly spreading around the world, the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 is expected to continue and Omicron is unlikely to be the last VOC,” the panel said.

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