NDTV News

NDTV.com provides latest news from India and the world. Get today’s news headlines from Business, Technology, Bollywood, Cricket, videos, photos, live news coverage and exclusive breaking news from India.

https://www.ndtv.com/

Omicron Accelerates Push For Second-Generation Covid Shots.

Omicron Accelerates Push For Second-Generation Covid Shots

Moderna Chief said surprising number of mutations in omicron suggests new shots would be needed

The pursuit of second-generation Covid vaccines, including shots that could offer broader protection against a range of emerging coronavirus variants, is intensifying in the face of the omicron threat.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, a group working to spur vaccine development, expects to commit more funds soon to researchers focused on future Covid shots, said Richard Hatchett, its chief executive officer. CEPI, launched in 2017 with backing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others, provided the first funds last month to developers of potential "variant-proof" shots under a $200 million program.

Whether or not the current vaccines maintain effectiveness against omicron, it's critical to invest in a variety of approaches, including inoculations that could target multiple versions of the pathogen in a single shot, according to Hatchett, a former White House adviser. The work also is expanding beyond programs focusing on the distinctive spike protein that the coronavirus uses to invade human cells.

"We don't know what the boundaries are for how far it can evolve and whether it can evolve out from under our vaccines, and not making investments now in vaccines to protect us against that possibility would be imprudent," he said. "It's terrific that we have this slate of vaccines, but we should be seeking through research and development to improve them."

Scientists must answer a crucial question of just how well Covid vaccines will work against the omicron variant. Pfizer Inc. expects its shot to hold up against the strain, an executive has said, and data should be available within two to three weeks. Moderna Inc. Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel, meanwhile, has said the surprising number of mutations in omicron suggests new shots would be needed to ward off infections.

"Even though it's possible omicron may turn out not to be as much of a threat, maybe the next one will be," Hatchett said. "We should use this real-world experience to see how far and how fast we can do this."

Multivalent flu vaccines targeting three or four versions of the pathogen have provided protection against multiple strains circling the globe. GlaxoSmithKline Plc and CureVac are aiming to develop a product that addresses multiple variants in one Covid vaccine, relying on mRNA technology.

CEPI already agreed to fund Israel's MigVax Ltd. to support the initial development of an oral vaccine, and the University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization to boost its work on a so-called protein subunit vaccine. The organization is also backing researchers seeking to develop inoculations against different coronaviruses.

The Canadian researchers are focusing on developing a vaccine that can be used in lower- and middle-income countries that have lagged wealthy governments in accessing shots. They're starting mid-stage studies in Africa in unvaccinated individuals and planning a booster study in Canada early next year, said Volker Gerdts, director of the vaccine organization.

"This new variant is another example of the concern all of us have," he said. "The more people we have who are not vaccinated the more breeding ground there is for these new variants to emerge."

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Related news
Supreme Court Declined To Order Texas Abortion Case Back To The Original Judge.

Supreme Court Declined To Order Texas Abortion Case Back To The Original Judge.

The Supreme Court declined to order the Texas abortion case back to the original trial judge for further proceedings for a second time. NBC News’ justice correspondent Pete Williams reports on the most restrictive abortion law in the country known...

Biden snipes at Fox News reporter: 'What a stupid question'.

Biden snipes at Fox News reporter: 'What a stupid question'.

White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich says it was 'clean-up' day for the Biden administration after a widely-panned presser on 'Special Report.' #FoxNews #SpecialReport Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel L...

LIVE: Urgent US-Russia talks in Geneva as Ukraine invasion fears grow.

LIVE: Urgent US-Russia talks in Geneva as Ukraine invasion fears grow.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met for talks in Geneva on Friday amid mounting fears that Russia could be about to invade Ukraine. "This is a critical moment," Mr Blinken said in his opening remarks...

Joe Biden sends tensions SOARING in Ukraine by ‘inviting’ Russia to invade.

Joe Biden sends tensions SOARING in Ukraine by ‘inviting’ Russia to invade.

U.S. PRESIDENT Joe Biden sent tensions in Ukraine soaring yesterday by appearing to “invite” Russia to invade. Sleepy Joe dropped a gigantic clanger by suggesting Russia might not face devastating sanctions if it only made a “minor incursion”. The...

Is nuclear energy a viable option against climate change? - DW News.

Is nuclear energy a viable option against climate change? - DW News.

The EU is considering whether to label nuclear power "green." That could make atomic energy eligible for investments aimed at making the future carbon-free. And today is the last day for countries to object to the plan, which has been controversia...

19-Year-Old Pilot Becomes Youngest Woman To Fly Solo Around The World.

19-Year-Old Pilot Becomes Youngest Woman To Fly Solo Around The World.

Zara Rutherford is now the youngest woman to fly solo around the world. NBC News’ Dasha Burns reports more on the 19-year-old’s five-month journey circling the globe.   » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collect...