EMA to Accept COVID-19 Vaccines Targeted at Older Versions of Omicron

July 8, 2022

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The European Medicines Agency (EMA) plans to consider COVID-19 vaccines adapted to past subvariants of Omicron despite the rising prevalence of newer, more contagious versions of the strain, an official said Thursday. EMA’s position contrasts with that of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which recently advised vaccine developers to modify their boosters to target newer BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, which recently became the dominant forms of the virus in the United States. How quickly such vaccines updated for BA.4 and BA.5 could be made available is also a consideration, noted Marco Cavaleri, EMA’s head of health threats and vaccines strategy. “We have to see how long it takes to get the new vaccines out,” Cavaleri said. “In the meantime, we think it’s important to keep using the existing vaccines.” Pfizer’s ($NYSE:PFE) current COVID-19 vaccine is not specifically targeted at any one variant of the virus, but the company has said it is working on a booster shot that would be more effective against the BA.5 subvariant. It is not clear how quickly Pfizer could roll out such a booster, but the company has said it could be ready by the end of the year. The EMA’s decision to continue to consider older versions of Omicron vaccines is likely to boost Pfizer’s market and earnings in the long term, as the company’s current vaccine will remain effective against older variants of the virus.

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Pfizer Inc. ($NYSE:PFE) is a publicly traded American multinational pharmaceutical corporation headquartered in New York City, with its research headquarters in Groton, Connecticut. Pfizer is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. Pfizer develops and produces medicines and vaccines for a wide range of medical disciplines, including immunology, oncology, cardiology, diabetology/endocrinology, and neurology. The company originally produced fine chemicals for use in the photographic and textile industries. It later diversified into food additives, drugs, and veterinary products. Pfizer is a large and diversified pharmaceutical company with a strong presence in both developed and emerging markets. The company’s stock has performed well in recent years.

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