The delta variant is still today the dominant of covid-19 on the European Union and the one that worries the most. Even so, and like other health authorities in the world, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has also begun to closely monitor and analyze the evolution of other emerging variants such as the so-called mu, including by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “variant of interest” on August 30 after being detected in 39 countries. According to the EMA, this is a “potentially worrying” variant.
“In addition to delta, which is the variant we have to focus on now, we are looking at other variants that are spreading such as lambda (first detected in Peru) and more recently mu. This is potentially more worrisome.” , It has been recognized Marco Cavalieri, responsible for the EMA’s vaccine strategy, alluding to the possibility that this covid-19 mutation could escape the immunity offered by vaccines. “We still do not have data that shows that it is spreading too much and that it can surpass delta as the dominant variant. In any case, we are going to discuss with the developers (of vaccines) so that they generate data to know the neutralizing effect also for this variant “, has specified about the variant whose scientific nomenclature is B.1.621 and which was discovered for the first time in Colombia.
Cavalieri has also insisted on the importance of vaccinating all eligible people who have not yet completed the vaccination schedule. The situation is very different depending on whether you look at the north, south or east of Europe. According to data from European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), more than 70% of the European population has already received both doses. However, while in Spain, Portugal or Denmark the percentage of fully vaccinated exceeds 80% of eligible people, in Bulgaria it is barely around 20% and in Romania it is 32%.
“The priority should be to get the maximum number of people are vaccinated“Cavalieri insisted. Regarding the third booster dose, the head of the vaccine strategy explained that the evidence” is increasingly clear “on the need to consider additional doses of the vaccine, particularly for people with systems severely depressed immunologicals and other vulnerable patients, although it is unclear when their administration should begin to be considered.
The EMA has started to analyze the BioNTech / Pfizer Pharmaceutical Application to administer a third booster dose, at least six months after the injection of the second dose for those over 16 years of age, and the conclusions, as they have explained, will be ready in “the next few weeks.” Other manufacturers of messenger RNA vaccines may also present data on a third booster dose. Moderna, for example, has started sharing data about its clinical trials.
As for the review of other vaccines. The EMA expects to complete the review of the data from Curevac. On Novavax they hope to reach conclusions by the end of the year while there is no timetable for the Russian Sputnik and the Chinese Sinovac. As Cavalieri explained, in both cases they need even more information before being able to continue with the continuous review of the antidote.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.