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Coronavirus Outbreak

World Health Organization Recommends New COVID Shots Should Target Only XBB Variants

COVID-19 vaccine makers like Pfizer/BioNtech, Moderna Inc and Novavax Inc are already developing versions of their respective vaccines targeting XBB.1.5 and other currently circulating strains

WHO Recommends New COVID Shots Should Target Only XBB Variants
The bivalent booster shots developed and distributed last year targeted two different strains - the Omicron variant as well as the original virus

New Delhi: A World Health Organization (WHO) advisory group on Thursday (May 18), recommended that this year’s COVID-19 booster shots be updated to target one of the currently dominant XBB variants. New formulations should aim to produce antibody responses to the XBB.1.5 or XBB.1.16 variants, the advisory group said, adding that other formulations or platforms that achieve neutralizing antibody responses against XBB lineages could also be considered.

Also Read: Covid Highlighted Need For More Robust, Inclusive, Responsive Global Health Architecture: Union Health Minister

The group suggested no longer including the original COVID-19 strain in future vaccines, based on data that the original virus no longer circulates in human beings and shots targeting the strain produce “undetectable or very low levels of neutralizing antibodies” against currently circulating variants.

COVID-19 vaccine makers like Pfizer/BioNtech, Moderna Inc and Novavax Inc are already developing versions of their respective vaccines targeting XBB.1.5 and other currently circulating strains.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is also set to hold a meeting of outside experts in June to discuss the strain compositions of COVID-19 shots for later this year; vaccine manufacturers will be expected to update their shots once the strains are selected.

The bivalent booster shots developed and distributed last year targeted two different strains – the Omicron variant as well as the original virus.

WHO’s advisory group, which recommends if changes are needed to the composition of future COVID-19 shots, said currently approved vaccines should continue to be used in accordance with the agency’s recommendations.

In late March, WHO had revised its COVID vaccination recommendations and suggested healthy children and adolescents might not necessarily need a shot, but older and high-risk groups should get a booster between six and 12 months after their last vaccine.

The latest recommendations come about two weeks after WHO ended the global emergency status for COVID-19.

Also Read: New Breathalyser Test Can ‘Sniff Out’ COVID-19 In Real-Time: Scientists

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

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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