COVID vaccine companies told to focus on KP.2 variant for drop shots, according to FDA announcement

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended this COVID vaccine manufacturers are updating their formulas for fall doses, in an effort to target the KP.2 strain of the JN.1 variant.

Thursday's announcement came just a week after the agency's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted to adopt a “monovalent vaccine of the JN.1 line” during the June 5 meeting.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID Data Tracker, the KP.2 variant was responsible for just 4% of infections in the US at the end of March 2024.

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Meanwhile, more than 50% of infections at that time were attributed to the parental strain, JN.1.

Just a few weeks later, KP.2 is now the cause of around 28% of infections, while the JN.1 variants have largely fallen in prevalence, the tracker shows.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recommended COVID vaccine makers update their fall dose formulas in an effort to target the KP.2 strain of the JN.1 variant. (iStock)

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor recently spoke with Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) at the Food and Drug Administration, on the new vaccine formulations.

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“Targeting the KP.2 strain makes sense because it is becoming the predominant strain – it is increasing in California and will spread across the country,” Siegel told Fox News Digital.

KP.2 test

KP.2 is now the cause of about 28% of infections, while the prevalence of the JN.1 variants has largely declined, CDC Tracker data shows. (iStock)

The KP.2 strain is “highly immune evasive,” the doctor warned — meaning immunity against previous variants and subvariants doesn't provide much protection.

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“On the other hand, the vaccine will trigger a production of immune cells and antibodies that will continue to protect you against previous variants and subvariants,” Siegel added.

Covid vaccine

According to doctors, the updated vaccine is especially important for risk groups, people with chronic diseases, the elderly and everyone who comes into contact with it. (iStock)

It is especially important for risk groups, people with chronic diseases, the elderly and anyone who comes into contact with it, the doctor said.

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In a statement to Fox News Digital, vaccine maker Novavax – which makes protein-based vaccines – said the company “has just submitted its application for a JN.1 COVID vaccine.”

Novavax vaccine is despicable

A vial of the Phase 3 Novavax coronavirus vaccine is ready for use in the trial at St. George's University Hospital in London, on October 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, file)

“Novavax's updated JN.1 COVID-19 vaccine is active against current circulating strains, including KP.2 and KP.3,” the company said in a press release.

“The submission is in accordance with the guidelines of the US FDA, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to target the JN.1 line this fall.”

For more health articles, visit www.foxnews/health.

Fox News Digital reached out to Pfizer and Moderna — both of which produce mRNA-based vaccines — asking for comment on their plans for fall formulations.

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