SII's Adar Poonawalla expects Omicron-specific vaccine in 6 months: Report

Published on Aug 15, 2022 11:36 PM IST

Adar Poonawalla's statement came even as the UK became the first country to authorise an updated version of Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine that includes protection against the Omicron variant.

Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India (SII), the world's biggest vaccine maker.(REUTERS file)
Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India (SII), the world's biggest vaccine maker.(REUTERS file)
By, New Delhi

Serum Institute of India's (SII) chief executive officer (CEO) Adar Poonawalla said he expects an Omicron-specific vaccine in the country in six months, news agency Reuters reported citing NDTV.

SII, the world's biggest vaccine maker, produces AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine under the brand name Covishield. Poonawalla reportedly said the vaccine will be specific to the BA5 sub-variant of Omicron.

SII did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Poonawalla's statement came even as the UK became the first country to authorise an updated version of Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine that includes protection against the Omicron variant, which the government said would be offered to people aged 50 and over starting in the fall.

In a statement on Monday, the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency said it had given the green light to Moderna's combination “bivalent” vaccine, which will be used as an adult booster shot.

Stephane Bancel, Moderna's chief executive, said in a statement that it was the first regulatory authorisation for a vaccine aiming to fight the Omicron variant, predicting the booster would have an “important role” to play in protecting people against Covid-19 in the winter.

On Friday, Germany's health minister said the European Medicines Agency might clear tweaked boosters next month.

In June, the US Food and Drug Administration told vaccine makers that any booster shots tweaked for the fall would have to include protection against the newest omicron variants, meaning BA.4 and BA.5, not the BA.1 subvariant included in Moderna's latest shot.

(With inputs from Reuters, AP)

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