The United Kingdom has just become the first country to approve a brand new version of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster which targets both the original strain of the virus as well as the Omicron variant.
An official government release published Monday states that the jab has been approved for adult booster doses by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) after it was found to meet the UK regulator’s standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
Half of the booster, which is called Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron, targets the original strain as the other half aims for the South African borne variant.
The UK government said that the decision to approve the jab was endorsed by the MHRA, which is the government’s independent expert scientific advisory body following carefully reviewed evidence.
The approval followed the results emerging from a clinical trial wherein Moderna reported that its booster targeting Omicron showed stronger immune response against the variant. It was also revealed by the company that the updated booster also showed a potent response against the BA.4 and BA.5 sub variants.
As per side effects, the MHRA said that they are the same as the original Moderna booster dose and they are deemed typically mild and self-resolving.
MHRA Chief Executive Dr June Raine said that the new booster will continue to protect communities as the virus mutates further. It is as of yet unclear who the jab will be offered to or when the rollout will begin.
Moderna is not the only manufacturer updating the vaccine against COVID-19, as Pfizer and BioNTech tested two new vaccine boosters in June. Preliminary results show a substantially higher immune response than their current shots as well.