The European medicines regulator could authorize Thursday, September 1 the first vaccines against Covid-19 specifically targeting the Omicron variant, but only the BA.1 subvariant, and not yet the last appeared BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. .
“The purpose of the meeting is to conclude the evaluation of the two applications, if possible”said the European Medicines Agency (EMA), based in Amsterdam.
“We will communicate the results of the meeting on September 1”she clarified.
Read also: Covid protocol, sport… Here are the new features awaiting students at the start of the school year
Do not target dominant strains
The two so-called vaccines “bivalent” which may get the green light from the EMA on Thursday target the original strain of the coronavirus, which emerged in China in 2019, and Omicron’s earlier BA.1 subvariant. However, they do not target the contagious BA.4 and BA.5 lineages of the Omicron variant, which have emerged in recent months as the dominant strains in the world.
The EMA, however, recently stated that it is aiming for approval “in the fall” of a Pfizer/BioNTech anti-Covid vaccine targeting the two Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.
US health authorities on Wednesday authorized the new version of the Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna specifically targeting the BA.4 and BA.5 lineages of the Omicron variant.
Read also: Covid-19. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines targeting the Omicron variant authorized in the United States
The UK approved the Moderna vaccine targeting Omicron’s BA.1 strain in mid-August.
European Union member states are currently still using the same coronavirus vaccines approved two years ago for use against the original strain of the virus.
They offer some protection against Omicron and its subvariants, which are less harmful but more contagious than the original strain, but the world is waiting for more targeted and effective vaccines, fearing a new wave this winter.
Read also: Covid-19. Infinite variations and waves? We asked the experts
Omicron and its sub-variants have been dominant throughout 2022, quickly taking the place of previous Alpha and Delta variants. The BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are notably responsible for a wave of new cases in Europe and the United States in recent months.
All Omicron variants tend to have a milder disease course as they settle less in the lungs and more in the upper nasal passages, causing symptoms such as fever, fatigue and loss of smell.