'Omicron-Specific COVID Vaccine Likely To Be Launched After Six Months': Adar Poonawalla

Omicron sub-variant of COVID-19 was declared as a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation due to its fast transmission and infection rate.

'Omicron-Specific COVID Vaccine Likely To Be Launched After Six Months': Adar Poonawalla
A healthcare worker inoculates a beneficiary with a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (ANI Photo)

The Serum Institute of India will try to launch an Omicron-specific vaccine for COVID-19 after six months, its CEO Adar Poonawalla said on Thursday. He said there is good data available for the Covavax vaccine. "The original Novovax vaccine Covovax covers omicron and there is good data for it. We will try to launch Omicron-specific vaccine after six months," he said.

The Pune-based Serum Institute is working with US biotechnology major Novavax to bring the Omicron-specific vaccine. Omicron sub-variant of COVID-19 was declared as a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation due to its fast transmission and infection rate. The company's Covavax vaccine is available for those above the age of 12 in the country.

On monkeypox, Poonawalla said the need for a vaccine for is "debatable". "Yes, it created a little bit of buzz when we saw the cases here. We are conducting research on the topic and can collaborate with the Department of Biotechnology on it too. Our research is going on and we will see in six months," he said.

Meanwhile, the EU's drug regulator on Thursday backed two separate COVID-19 vaccine boosters updated to target the Omicron variant and developed by rivals Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, as the region readies to roll out shots to ward off infections in the winter.

The new so-called bivalent shots combat the BA.1 version of Omicron and the original virus first detected in China. The recommendations are for people aged 12 years and above who have received at least primary vaccination against COVID-19, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said. The final go-ahead will be subject to European Commission approval, which should come in fairly quickly.


(With Agencies Inputs)

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