What will the future of covid-19 booster vaccines look like? FDA advisers will discuss it this week

Alexandra Ferguson

(CNN) — Advisors to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are meeting this Wednesday to get a clearer view of what the future of booster vaccines against the flu could look like. covid-19.

Last week, the FDA expanded the emergency use authorization of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines to allow adults age 50 and older to receive a second booster dose as soon as four months after receiving the vaccine. your first booster dose of any covid-19 vaccine.

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However, there has been debate about whether additional doses of the Covid-19 vaccine will be necessary for the general public, and if so, when and how often.

The FDA Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biologics will discuss the potential need for future COVID-19 vaccine booster doses, including the process for selecting variant-specific boosters and whether the COVID-19 vaccine -19 could become an annual injection.

Americans could be prepared for booster shots becoming an annual thing, similar to how flu shots are recommended each year, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said Friday.

“It’s not a given, but it could be that we need intermittent boosting on a yearly basis until we get this level down that low,” Fauci, who is also the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent, in “Interview Club” on CNN+.

The goal is to get the circulating coronavirus down to such low levels that it doesn’t affect society, Fauci said.

“We want to get to such a low level that it doesn’t interfere with us at all, and if that requires an annual vaccine that could be adjusted to a new variant, in the same way that we adjust influenza vaccines, we will have to wait and see.” Fauci said. “We have to be prepared for it.”

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prepare for the future

The FDA’s vaccine advisory meeting is intended to help develop an “overarching framework” that informs when COVID-19 booster doses might be needed and what might warrant updating vaccine formulations to target specific variants of the virus. coronavirus, the FDA said last month.

“As we prepare for the future needs of dealing with COVID-19, prevention in the form of vaccines remains our best defense against the disease and any potentially serious consequences,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center, said in a statement. FDA Biological Evaluation and Research.

“Now is the time to discuss the need for future reinforcements, since our goal is to move forward safely, and for covid-19 to become a virus like others, such as influenza, for which we are preparing, against the that we protect ourselves and whom we treat,” Marks said. “Bringing together our panel of expert external scientific advisors in an open and transparent discussion on booster vaccination is an important step in gaining insight, input and expert advice as we begin to formulate the best regulatory strategy to address COVID-19. and variants of the virus in the future.”

The agenda for Wednesday’s meeting includes an update from experts on the coronavirus variants that have been identified during the pandemic, as well as presentations on variant prediction, the efficacy of vaccines in children and adults, and what Israeli data on the use of fourth doses in older adults show.

FDA advisers are scheduled to hear from Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, director of Israel Public Health Services. Representatives from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health are also expected to participate.

FDA vaccine advisers will hear from experts from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle on modeling future COVID-19 outbreaks.

Experts from the World Health Organization and the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority are scheduled to discuss the variants and development of future vaccines.

The last presentation on the agenda is from the FDA’s Office of Vaccine Research and Review on a proposed framework to address future outbreaks of covid-19. This will be followed by a lunch break, a public hearing, and finally a committee discussion.

No official vote is scheduled at the meeting, and no specific product requesting authorization or approval will be discussed.

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“It is likely that we will need some form of regular vaccination”

To keep the coronavirus under control in the future, “we will probably need some form of regular vaccination. Now if it’s annual or every two years or every five years, we still don’t know. I think that will emerge as we gather more data,” Dr. Archana Chatterjee, dean of the Rosalind Franklin University School of Medicine and a member of the vaccine advisory committee, told CNN in March.

“But I do anticipate that it will be required on a regular basis to keep it under control,” Chatterjee said, adding that his comments do not reflect the views of the committee or the FDA.

For now, “there are two issues going on” when it comes to the future of booster shots against Covid-19, Fauci said Friday.

There is the immediate question of what the future might look like for adults 50 and older, who are now eligible to receive a fourth dose, or second booster shot, of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“Will it somehow interfere if I get vaccinated now with how effective it is if I need a booster in the fall?” Fauci speculated. “It could be that if the protection starts to wane, those of us in a certain age category or underlying condition might actually require that extra boost, and getting it now for the elderly individual shouldn’t impede the viability of it at all.” get another one come fall.”

The second question, according to Fauci, is more long-term, and is what exactly the future might look like for the general public in terms of the frequency of booster shots, if they are needed at all.

Because, according to Fauci, the hopeful question around circulating virus levels remains: “Will it eventually get so low that we may not even need a booster every year?”

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