Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

For Vaccine Variant Updates

The US Food and Drug Administration says SARS-CoV-2 vaccine developers won't have to conduct large trials of new vaccines or vaccine boosters aimed at new viral variants, Bloomberg reports.

A number of new SARS-CoV-2 variants have been identified, some of which have raised concerns. For example, B.1.1.7, which was first identified in the UK, appears to be more readily transmitted. At the same time, vaccines appear to have a weaker response against B.1.351, which was first uncovered in South Africa. This has suggested that vaccine makers may have to update their vaccines or develop boosters.

According to CNBC, the FDA will allow updated vaccines or boosters against variants, clearing them as an amendment to the developers' initial Emergency Use Authorization, based on immunogenicity studies. It notes that this approach is what is used for the yearly flu vaccines.

The agency further issued new guidance for test developers, recommending that they design their tests to be robust to the effect of viral variants and note any variant-based limitations, as GenomeWeb has reported.

"By issuing these guidances, we want the American public to know that we are using every tool in our toolbox to fight this pandemic, including pivoting as the virus adapts," Janet Woodcock, acting FDA commissioner, says in a statement.

The Scan

Another Resignation

According to the Wall Street Journal, a third advisory panel member has resigned following the US Food and Drug Administration's approval of an Alzheimer's disease drug.

Novavax Finds Its Vaccine Effective

Reuters reports Novavax's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.

Can't Be Used

The US Food and Drug Administration says millions of vaccine doses made at an embattled manufacturing facility cannot be used, the New York Times reports.

PLOS Papers on Frozen Shoulder GWAS, Epstein-Barr Effects on Immune Cell Epigenetics, More

In PLOS this week: genome-wide association study of frozen shoulder, epigenetic patterns of Epstein-Barr-infected B lymphocyte cells, and more.