US health officials will likely decide by June whether a new design is needed for COVID-19 vaccines, Reuters reports.
An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration met last week to discuss ways the agency could prepare for future stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Peter Marks, director of FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, acknowledged according to Reuters that future booster campaigns will need to be less frequent and that the latest one was a "stopgap measure."
Instead, the agency may rely on new vaccines targeted at multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants, it says. But according to the New York Times, the panel said officials would have to decide by May or June what formulation those new vaccines should have so that it would be ready by the fall when a COVID-19 resurgence is expected. "If you're not on your way to that clinical trial by the beginning of May, it is very difficult to have collectively across manufacturers enough product to meet that demand," Robert Johnson from the Department of Health and Human Services tells it.
The Times adds, though, that officials will be working with uncertainty as there is no way to know what strain will be the dominant one in the fall.