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'Virus, Variants, and Vaccines'

An advisory panel to the US Food and Drug Administration is to meet Wednesday to discuss how the agency can prepare for future stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It notes that the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is not to vote on any particular issue but is to view presentations on "the virus, variants, and vaccines."

In a briefing document for the meeting, the FDA says the panel is to discuss what role the agency and the committee should have in guiding the composition of COVID-19 vaccines in the US and what circumstances might call for such updated vaccines. The Journal adds that the panel is also to examine how the agency could review and authorize future SARS-CoV-2 vaccines as well as discuss the timing of boosters.

"While the development, authorization, and deployment of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines has been a critical component of the global response to the pandemic, uncertainties about the future course of the pandemic and a still incomplete understanding of SARS-CoV-2 immunology leave open scientific and policy questions regarding the optimal use and further development of COVID-19 vaccines," the briefing document says.