The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended in a statement that future vaccines against COVID-19 no longer include the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, but a different version that closely matches the circulating variants.
The WHO technical advisory group on the composition of the COVID-19 vaccine suggested on May 18 that the XBB.1.5 variant, which is responsible for the majority of new infections worldwide, be included. The updated vaccine should focus on a single XBB variant rather than multiple versions.
Although not binding, this recommendation serves as a basis for national vaccine decisions. Some experts have advocated including multiple strains of the virus in the next vaccine, similar to the approach of the annual flu shot. The WHO panel emphasized that slight differences exist between existing XBB variants and alternative formulations or platforms that generate strong neutralizing antibody responses against XBB descendant lineages may be considered.
The latest US COVID-19 booster is bivalent, targeting the original version of SARS-CoV-2 and two Omicron variants (BA.4 and BA.5). Although these and earlier vaccines remain effective against serious illness, hospitalization, and death, they offer less protection against infection as antibody levels decline over time. Updating the COVID-19 vaccine is crucial to address declining efficacy, as long as the vaccine strains closely match those in circulation. Targeting a single version of the virus can reduce the chances of achieving this alignment.
The WHO recommendation will be considered by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when its vaccine experts meet in June to discuss which strains should be included in the next COVID vaccine -19. The FDA’s VRBAC committee is moving toward approving a single annual injection for most people, with additional doses for the elderly and immunocompromised.
The FDA announced in April that unvaccinated Americans can now receive a single dose of Moderna’s or Pfizer’s bivalent mRNA vaccines. However, this change does not allow individuals to choose between one or two doses to be considered fully vaccinated. The CDC has also made a decision about international travelers flying to the US, stating that they will be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving a single dose of Pfizer’s or Moderna’s mRNA vaccine, given any time after 16 August 2022, when it is bivalent. formulations were available for the first time. However, a recent White House decision has rendered that announcement irrelevant by eliminating vaccination requirements for arriving travelers.
In practice, these policy changes are unlikely to have a significant impact, as they are unlikely to influence the approximately 30% of Americans who have consistently refused COVID-19 vaccines for various reasons. Also, few international travelers, especially foreigners, would have received only a single dose of a bivalent mRNA vaccine.
Since the launch of mRNA vaccines in late 2020, the standard primary series has always consisted of two doses, which is the legal definition of “fully vaccinating.” The CDC continues to recommend multiple doses of mRNA vaccines, depending on age and health status. The FDA and CDC’s sudden decision to consider a bivalent vaccine dose sufficient for unvaccinated people raises questions about the underlying data and decision-making process. Unfortunately, there is a lack of concrete data and transparency in this regard.
FDA official Peter Marks, MD, PhD, has cited the simplification of vaccine administration as the driving factor behind the recent change and believes that allowing unvaccinated people to receive a single dose will encourage future vaccination. Marks also refers to the high percentage of the US population that has been infected or vaccinated, suggesting that an unvaccinated person may only require a single dose to improve immunity from a previous infection.
A major study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases that comes more than three years after the Covid pandemic supports what critics of the global pandemic response and vaccine mandates have been saying all along: the natural immunity of previous infection is superior to vaccinated immunity in almost all cases. aspects for most people.
The medical study titled “Protection against COVID-19 mRNA vaccination and prior SARS-CoV-2 infection against COVID-19-associated encounters in adults during Delta and Omicron predominance,” was conducted by dozens of accredited medical researchers and was accepted for publication. in the Journal of Infectious Diseases last week.
Lead author Catherine Bozio, PhD. , is a member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Team in Atlanta, Georgia. The study was funded by the CDC.
Natural immunity, or post-infection immunity, was shown to provide 76% protection against hospitalizations associated with Covid-19 during the Omicron boost, the researchers found. The Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, both using mRNA technology, provided only 39 percent protection for those without prior infection.
Natural immunity also lasted longer than mRNA vaccination plus boosters, according to the study. During the Omicron surge, natural immunity protection against hospitalization was 74% for 150 or more days after infection. A series of primary vaccines without previous infection provided only 39 percent protection beyond 149 days after the final vaccine. Three doses initially provided 81 percent protection, but this faded to 31 percent after 150 or more days after the last dose.
The CDC in its study admitted that scientific data and analysis of natural immunity during the Covid pandemic was “limited”. However, Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins University in October 2021 conducted research on natural immunity showed that natural immunity was superior to vaccinated immunity against Covid-19.
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