The federal government continues to work closely with notable COVID-19 manufacturers, including Moderna and Pfizer, hosting a summit today focused on the future COVID-19 vaccines.
“We need a vaccine that can stand up to multiple variants,” said White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha.
While White House officials called for developing inexpensive novel vaccines that could be delivered nasally or via a skin patch, they did not specify where the funding for such efforts would come from.
As the omicron BA.5 lineage has gained momentum, some pundits have called for the government to spur the development of novel vaccines.
The Biden administration hopes to stymie future SARS-CoV-2 variants, curb infection and transmission of the virus and ensure that future vaccines offer longer-lasting protection.
Moderna and Pfizer are both developing bivalent COVID-19 vaccines based on omicron.
In addition to Jha, government attendees included NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, acting Science Adviser to the President Francis Collins and HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O’Connell.
In an interview with STAT, Jha expressed the federal government’s intent to drive down infections significantly so that the virus fades into the background.
The White House event also featured Pfizer’s Angela Hwang, group president of its biopharmaceuticals group, and Moderna President Stephen Hoge.
Executives from other companies such as Vaxxinity, CyanVac, Micron Biomedical and Meissa were also included in the summit.
As various omicron variants drive the majority of infections in the U.S. and elsewhere, the current crop of COVID-19 vaccines continues to offer strong protection against severe disease but diminished protection against viral infection and transmission.
How the White House would secure funding for new vaccine platforms remains unclear. In March, the federal government acknowledged it was struggling to cover COVID-19 tests and vaccines.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery and Development, Infectious Disease
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