COVID-19 vaccine makers have moved to expand their offerings in the United States and overseas. Novavax wants its vaccine’s U.S. authorization to extend to a booster shot, and the United Kingdom has conditionally approved a two-component shot that tackles the omicron variant.

Novavax on July 13 received U.S. emergency use authorization to offer its COVID-19 vaccine as a primary series of shots. On Monday, the company announced that it had applied for booster designation as well. If authorized as requested, the shot would be available as a booster for adults who have already had a primary series of any other currently available COVID-19 vaccine. It would also be the first protein-based booster option available in the U.S., Novavax added.

Variant shot OK’d

In the meantime, the United Kingdom is the first country to conditionally approve a variant-adapted shot by Moderna. The two-component, or bivalent vaccine, targets both the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and the omicron BA.1 variant. Clinical trials showed that the new shot provided not only high protection against those variants, but also elicited “a good response” against the now dominant omicron strains BA.5 and BA.4, according to CIDRAP News. 

The FDA last month asked mRNA vaccine manufacturers to add an omicron BA.4/5 spike protein component to their current vaccines’ composition to create a booster shot. The goal is to have new variant-specific boosters available in early to mid-fall 2022 to increase immunity in already-vaccinated recipients. Fully 61% of already vaccinated U.S. seniors plan to pursue updated COVID booster shots when available, according to a poll from the University of Michigan.

Moderna last week announced that it also has a combination vaccine in the works that would cover COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus together. The drug is expected to be developed over three to five years, the company said.

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