The WHO (World Health Organization) urged vaccine manufacturers against Covid-19 to develop a second generation of immunizations, in the face of the global explosion of new infections caused by Omicron variant of the coronavirus, more transmissible than all the others already identified.
In a statement released on Tuesday (11), the multilateral entity emphasizes that vaccines “need to be based on strains that are genetically and antigenically close to the circulating variants of Sars-CoV-2”.
Another point highlighted is that the new generation of immunizers, in addition to preventing serious cases and deaths – the current ones already have good efficacy –, needs to offer greater protection against infection, “thus reducing community transmission and the need for social measures rigorous and far-reaching public health and public health measures”.
Updates to vaccines available today must still, according to the WHO, provoke “broad, strong and lasting” immune responses in order to reduce the need for successive booster doses.
The suggestions of the expert group that advises the World Health Organization range from a multivalent vaccine that contains antigens from different coronaviruses to a vaccine called “pan-Sars-CoV-2”. This could be, according to the statement, “a more sustainable long-term option that would be effectively variant-proof.”
The WHO statement comes a day after Pfizer Executive Director Albert Bourla announced that the company will have an adapted vaccine available in March against the Ômicron variant.
Moderna, another US vaccine company against Covid-19, also plans to update the immunizer starting in the second quarter.
Currently, all existing immunizers are based on the original strain of the virus, identified in Wuhan (China) at the end of 2019. However, it practically no longer circulates.
The rapid emergence of new variants – something natural when there are a large number of infected people – was causing vaccines to lose effectiveness.
Still, all WHO-approved products (including those used in Brazil) offer significant protection against severe cases and deaths.