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FDA panel recommends redesigned Covid booster shots 

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According to CNBC, the next round of Covid booster shots should be modified to target the supercontagious omicron variant, a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee recommended on Tuesday.

The vote capped off a daylong meeting in which the panel members grappled with how to get ahead of a virus that has outsmarted us for more than two years.

Dr. Peter Marks, the FDA’s top vaccine regulator, acknowledged that the question before the committee was challenging and would require guesswork, saying that the federal agency was essentially asking the panel to act as a sort of “crystal ball.”

The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted 19-2 in favor of recommending that booster shots include a component that targets the omicron variant.

The panel did not, however, make a recommendation about what specific formulation the updated booster should take. That decision falls to the FDA.

One question that came up many times during the discussion was whether to target the original strain of omicron, known as BA.1, or to target the subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, the strains that are currently spreading in the U.S.

BA.1 was the first omicron variant; it became dominant in the U.S. in December but has since faded. BA.4 and BA.5 — considered the most contagious form of the virus to date — are rapidly gaining ground in the U.S. For the week ending June 25, the two subvariants combined made up about 52% of all new Covid cases in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They overtook BA.2.12.1, another subvariant that only became dominant in mid-May. 

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SourceNBC News
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