FDA advisory committee to discuss vaccines for COVID variants

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will hold a meeting of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, to discuss vaccines for COVID-19 variants.

The general function of the committee is to provide advice and recommendations to FDA on regulatory issues, the FDA says.

The committee is set to meet in an open session and discuss whether and how the SARS-CoV-2 strain composition of COVID-19 vaccines should be modified.

The meeting will be held virtually on June 28, 2022, starting at 8:30 a.m. It will be open to the general public.

According to the FDA, the VRBPAC will consider information from presentations discussing:

  • current data on the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 variants, the effectiveness of currently available COVID-19 vaccines, and modeling predictions for the potential future evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • recently released recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) on updates to the composition of COVID-19 vaccines;
  • immunogenicity data from clinical studies evaluating COVID-19 vaccines with various strain compositions; and
  • the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) perspective on the considerations for strain composition modifications of COVID-19 vaccines.

In accordance with these presentations, the VRBPAC will discuss considerations for and data needed to support authorization of modified vaccines against COVID-19.

Furthermore, the VRBPAC will be asked to vote on a recommendation for the COVID-19 vaccine strain composition to be used for booster doses.

Options for considerations regarding the strain composition of vaccines

The FDA argues that “the current epidemiology of COVID-19, the evidence of waning immunity elicited by current COVID-19 vaccines, and the available immunogenicity data generated from a limited number of variant-specific vaccine candidates suggest that an updated vaccine composition may provide added benefit against currently circulating virus variants.”

This might be of particular importance in the winter months when the risk of another major COVID-19 outbreak rises due to the waning immunity, emergence of new variants, and increased indoor activities, according to FDA.

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