The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given its approval for an updated version of the Comirnaty Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. This new version specifically targets a highly contagious sublineage of the virus.
Targeting the Omicron Subvariant
The newly approved vaccine focuses on combating the Omicron subvariant known as XBB.1.5. This particular subvariant dominated cases during the spring and summer months. However, the World Health Organization states that a newer subvariant called EG.5, which is closely related to XBB.1.5, currently accounts for the majority of cases.
Enhanced Neutralizing Antibody Responses
According to Pfizer and BioNTech, preclinical data demonstrates that their updated vaccine generates improved neutralizing antibody responses against multiple Omicron sublineages, including XBB.1.5 and EG.5.1 (also known as Eris).
Preparedness in Anticipation of Increased Demand
In anticipation of a rise in demand during the fall and winter season, Pfizer and BioNTech have been producing this updated vaccine at risk. They aimed to have it ready for immediate shipment upon receiving FDA approval.
The latest vaccine is recommended as a single dose for most individuals aged five and older, regardless of their previous Covid-19 vaccination history. For those under the age of five, they may be eligible for additional doses if they have not already completed a three-dose series using previous formulations.