The UK health authorities announced on Monday that the country has become the first to approve a so-called bivalent COVID vaccine that targets both the original strain of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it had given the green light to the Moderna vaccine as a sharpened tool against the novel coronavirus after it was found to meet its standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
In each dose of the booster vaccine, Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron', half of the vaccine (25 micrograms) targets the original virus strain from 2020 and the other half (25 micrograms) targets Omicron, the regulator said.
I am pleased to announce the approval of the Moderna bivalent booster vaccine, which was found in the clinical trial to provide a strong immune response against the Omicron BA.1 variant as well as the original 2020 strain, said MHRA Chief Executive Dr June Raine.
The first generation of COVID-19 vaccines being used in the UK continue to provide important protection against the disease and save lives. What this bivalent vaccine gives us is a sharpened tool in our armoury to help protect us against this disease as the virus continues to evolve, she said.
The MHRA said its decision to grant approval for this booster vaccine in the UK was endorsed by the government's independent expert scientific advisory body, the Commission on Human Medicines, after carefully reviewing the evidence.