COVID-19 isn’t quite done with the world yet. Small surges of cases in the U.S., as well as upticks in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the summer, and new variants that weren’t around even three months ago, remind us that SARS-CoV-2 is still a health threat for the coming fall and winter.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to decide which strain will be targeted in the updated vaccination, which it says will be released in late September. The FDA will consider the recommendations of the independent panel of vaccine experts that it convened last June. This panel reviewed the most recent data regarding an updated COVID-19 vaccination and the strains likely to be in circulation in the fall or winter. The panel of 21 members unanimously voted to update the COVID-19 next vaccine and recommend moving away from the bivalent shot targeting two Omicron variants BA.4 & BA.5, and now including a single XBB. The agency has not yet decided which strain of XBB will be included in the new vaccine, even though at the time the strain that was causing the most new infections, XBB.1.5, was the dominant one.
Since the middle of August however, there have been new variants, and XBB.1.5 is now…