The UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (UKHSA) announced today that Moderna's updated version of the COVID-19 vaccine targeting two SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus variants had been approved for adult booster doses.
In each booster vaccine dose, '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 Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's (MHRA) decision is based on data from a clinical trial that 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.
Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, Chair of the Commission on Human Medicines, commented in a press release issued on August 15, 2022, "The Commission on Human Medicines and its COVID-19 Vaccines Expert Working Group has independently reviewed the data on safety, quality, and effectiveness and agrees with the MHRA's decision."
"The virus, SARS-CoV-2, continually evolves to evade the immunity provided by vaccines."
"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."
Furthermore, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will advise on how this Moderna vaccine should be offered as part of the deployment program.
Note: The UK press release was manually translated and curated for mobile readership.