FDA To Allow You To Get A Different Type Of Booster Than Your Initial Shot
News outlets report on an upcoming decision by the Food and Drug Administration about which covid booster shot regime it will support, and it looks like a "mix-and-match" approach is expected. AP reports on why boosters weren't "tweaked" to better tackle covid variants.
The New York Times:
F.D.A. To Allow ‘Mix And Match’ Approach For Covid Booster Shots
The Food and Drug Administration is planning to allow Americans to receive a different Covid-19 vaccine as a booster than the one they initially received, a move that could reduce the appeal of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and provide flexibility to doctors and other vaccinators. The government would not recommend one shot over another, and it might note that using the same vaccine as a booster when possible is preferable, people familiar with the agency’s planning said. But vaccine providers could use their discretion to offer a different brand, a freedom that state health officials have been requesting for weeks. (LaFraniere and Weiland, 10/18)
The Washington Post:
FDA To Allow ‘Mix-And-Match’ Approach On Coronavirus Booster Vaccines
A key matter of debate: If Moderna is used as a booster for Johnson & Johnson, what should be the correct dose? Some officials say it should be a half dose of the regular shot — the dosage that will be authorized for Moderna boosters in general — while others say it should be a full dose, which was the amount tested as part of a National Institutes of Health study released last week. (McGinley, 10/18)
Why COVID Boosters Weren't Tweaked To Better Match Variants
More COVID-19 booster shots may be on the way -- but when it’s your turn, you’ll get an extra dose of the original vaccine, not one updated to better match the extra-contagious delta variant. And that has some experts wondering if the booster campaign is a bit of a missed opportunity to target delta and its likely descendants. “Don’t we want to match the new strains that are most likely to circulate as closely as possible?” Dr. Cody Meissner of Tufts Medical Center, an adviser to the Food and Drug Administration, challenged Pfizer scientists recently. (Neergaard, 10/18)
In related news about vaccines —
COVID-19 Vaccine Trials Recruiting Oklahoma Participants, Including Young Children
Several COVID-19 vaccine trials are recruiting participants in Oklahoma, including a trial for young children, booster shot trials for adults, and a study aimed at people with autoimmune conditions who didn’t mount a strong response to their initial vaccinations. Slots are still open to participate in trials through the Lynn Health Science Institute, though they’re being filled quickly, said Carlos Blanco, chief executive officer of the institute, which also ran some of the initial COVID-19 vaccine trials last year. “Oklahomans have just been incredible in the way they have responded," Blanco said. "They want to help, and they want to do something to bring about the end of this pandemic." (Branham, 10/18)
What If MRNA Vaccines Could Cure Cancer?
The fact that mRNA technology had never delivered an authorized therapy before the coronavirus pandemic could tell us one of two things. Perhaps synthetic mRNA is like a miraculous key that humankind pulled out of our pockets in this pandemic, but it was so perfectly shaped for the coronavirus that we shouldn’t expect it to unlock other scientific mysteries any time soon. Or perhaps mRNA is merely in the first chapter of a more extraordinary story. This month, BioNTech announced that it had initiated Phase 2 trials of personalized cancer vaccines for patients with colorectal cancer. It is working on other personalized cancer vaccines and exploring possible therapies for malaria using a version of the mRNA technology that had its breakout moment in 2020. (Thompson, 10/18)