A World Health Organization official said Monday it is reclassifying the highly contagious triple-mutant Covid variant spreading in India as a “variant of concern,” indicating that it’s become a global health threat.Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19, said the agency will provide more details in its weekly situation report on the pandemic Tuesday but added that the variant, known as B.1.617, has been found in preliminary studies to spread more easily than the original virus and there is some evidence it may able to evade some of the protections provided by vaccines. The shots, however, are still considered effective.
“And as such we are classifying this as a variant of concern at the global level,” she said during a press conference. “Even though there is increased transmissibility demonstrated by some preliminary studies, we need much more information about this virus variant in this lineage in all of the sub lineages, so we need more sequencing, targeted sequencing to be done.”
US FDA Authorizes Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine for Use in People Ages 12 to 15
The US Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine on Monday to include people ages 12 to 15.This is the first Covid-19 vaccine in the United States authorized for use in younger teens and adolescents; the vaccine had previously been authorized for people age 16 and older. Covid-19 vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are authorized for use in people age 18 and older
“It was a relatively straightforward decision,” Dr. Peter Marks, Director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, the arm of the FDA that regulates vaccines, told reporters Monday evening.The FDA looked at the Pfizer safety and efficacy data. The agency also looked at the immune responses of some of the children who were vaccinated, and compared them to the immune responses of older teens and adults who got the shot.