Omicron variant accelerates push for second-generation Covid vaccines

The pursuit of second-generation Covid vaccines, including shots that could offer broader protection against a range of emerging coronavirus variants, is intensifying in the face of the omicron threat.

Foto: Reuters/Dado Ruvic

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, a group working to spur vaccine development, expects to commit more funds soon to researchers focused on future Covid shots, said Richard Hatchett, its chief executive officer. CEPI provided the first funds last month to developers of potential "variant-proof" shots under a $200 million program.

Whether or not the current vaccines maintain effectiveness against omicron, it's critical to boost investment in a variety of approaches, including inoculations that could target multiple versions of the pathogen in a single shot, according to Hatchett, a former White House adviser who joined CEPI in 2017. The work also is expanding beyond programs focusing on the distinctive spike protein that the coronavirus uses to invade human cells...

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