A pharmacist prepares to dispense COVID-19 vaccine booster shots during an event hosted by the Chicago Department of Public Health at the Southwest Senior Center on September 9, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.
Scott Olson | Getty Images
Drug manufacturers design their own updated vaccines to target the omicron subvariant XBB.1.5Which is gradually decreasing across the country. But health experts and early data suggest the new shots will still come be effective Against Eris, or EG.5, and other widely circulated variants – all descendants of Omicron.
Dr. Mark Mulligan, director of the NYU Langone Vaccine Center, said, “I think these vaccines will provide a lot of protection against EG.5. Maybe just a little bit of damage, but it’s not something I’m very worried about.” I’m worried.” CNBC. “Looks like we’ll be fine.”
All three companies are still waiting for their vaccines to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which means they won’t be available to the public for a month or two. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also must decide which Americans should get the shot and how often.
Still, the upcoming arrival of those vaccines offers some reassurance to Aris and other Americans. covid Variant Fuel A slight upheaval The number of cases and hospitalizations across the country is up but down from the summer peak that caused a strain on hospitals at this time last year.
Earlier this month, Eris accounted for 17.3% of all cases in the US, according to latest data from CDC. The new strain overtook XBB.1.5 in about 10% of all cases.
The World Health Organization designated Eris earlier this month “type of interest,” This means that it will be monitored for mutations that could potentially make it more severe.
But the health agency and experts said Aeris poses no significant threat — or at least no more than any other Omicron variant currently circulating in the US. It is also not expected to cause a huge wave of Covid cases like the other strains. In past years.
The new vaccines will likely provide protection against Eris because the genetic makeup of this strain is very similar to that of XBB.1.5.
The main difference is that aeris has an additional amino acid mutation, which may make the strain slightly more capable of evading immunity from previous infection or vaccination.
“It’s not like a time when we had alpha, beta, delta and omicron variants emerging and they were very different from each other,” said Dr. Nicole Iovine, chief hospital epidemiologist and infectious disease physician at the University of Florida. “These are all Omicron variants, so they are very similar to each other. I think this vaccine is going to be really effective because of that.”
A nurse administers a booster shot at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on April 0=6, 2022 in San Rafael, California.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
This is supported by new data from three companies.
Moderna said on Thursday that due to its updated shot… “significant boost” Aeris in clinical trials and protective antibodies against another fast-spreading strain of the virus called “Fornax” or FL 1.5.1. The company did not provide specific data on antibody levels as test results are preliminary.
But Moderna President Stefan Hoge said in a release that the results “demonstrate the potential of our updated vaccine to address emerging COVID-19 threats.”
A Pfizer spokesperson said in a statement to CNBC on Thursday that the company’s own shot “effectively neutralized” several Omicron variants, including Eris and XBB.1.5, in a recent study on mice. The spokesperson said the company plans to release the full results of the study in a research publication.
A spokesperson for Novavax also told CNBC that it expects its updated Covid vaccine to work against Aeris, given its similarity to the XBB.1.5 strain.
“We are now conducting tests to demonstrate this,” the spokesperson said.
As Eris takes hold in the US, some Americans may be questioning whether they should get one of the currently available COVID boosters instead of waiting for the new shots to come out.
Some experts say it depends on individual circumstances and risk level, so patients should talk with their doctors.
Mulligan said people who haven’t been vaccinated or who have low immunity haven’t received the available boosters could potentially consider getting them now. Those patients are at high risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid.
But he also said that most people, especially healthy patients, could probably wait for new vaccines.
Aeris is not expected to infect large numbers of Americans before the shots arrive. “Some of us may be affected, but I don’t expect that we’ll see a big wave in the short term between now and next month or two,” Mulligan said.
According to Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UC Davis Health, even currently available boosters may not provide as much protection against Eris because the variant has “gone too far” from Omicron BA.5. The boosters target BA.5, BA.4 and the parent strain of COVID.
“It probably won’t be as beneficial, and we expect updated vaccines to be available in about a month,” Blumberg said. “So I’ll wait for that and as soon as it’s available, I’ll take it.”