- Hans Weber
- December 1, 2023
Manufacturers Preparing COVID-19 Vaccines for New Variants Ahead of Autumn, Czech Health Authorities Confirm
As autumn approaches, vaccine manufacturers are gearing up to provide vaccines tailored to new variants of the COVID-19 virus, according to statements from Roman Chlibek, the head of the Czech Vaccinological Society. He shared this information on the X network (formerly Twitter). This development comes in anticipation of potential new challenges posed by emerging variants of the virus.
Health Minister Vlastimil Valek (TOP 09) has confirmed that Czechia’s strategy for COVID-19 vaccinations in the upcoming autumn months is being meticulously devised by the State Health Institute (SZU). It is expected that Pfizer/BioNTech will supply the latest version of their vaccine, designed to target the XBB variant, provided that it gains approval.
The vaccines intended for use in autumn and winter will include adaptations to address the Omicron XBB.1.5 variant. Currently under review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), this updated Comirnaty vaccine is being considered for individuals across all age groups, starting from six months.
In addition to Pfizer/BioNTech’s modified vaccine, Novavax is also working on a vaccine specifically designed to counter the XBB variant. Notably, Novavax’s vaccine differs in its approach, utilizing a protein-based mechanism as opposed to Pfizer/BioNTech’s viral mRNA approach. Novavax’s vaccine is being developed with a goal of broader neutralizing responses against various sub-variants of the XBB variant.
The vaccination schedule for Comirnaty’s vaccines is being revised by the EMA to accommodate the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants. Notably, individuals who have not received any prior vaccination can now receive the Comirnaty vaccine. This stands as a departure from previous recommendations that favored the original type of the vaccine for such individuals.
In terms of vaccination rates, approximately 65.5 percent of Czechia’s population, totaling around 6.997 million individuals, have received COVID-19 vaccinations to date. While the situation in Czechia is relatively stable, there has been a slight rise in the number of positive test results since the end of July. This is in contrast to the peak of the epidemic, when there were hundreds of thousands of daily tests and tens of thousands of daily positive cases.
With the evolving landscape of COVID-19 variants, the proactive approach of tailoring vaccines to address new strains serves as a testament to the commitment of public health officials and manufacturers to stay ahead of potential challenges in the ongoing fight against the pandemic.
Article by Prague Forum