(CTN News) – U.S. authorities said on Wednesday that the enhanced COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer Inc (PFE.N)/BioNTech SE and Moderna (MRNA.O) helped prevent symptomatic infections against the new XBB-related subvariants, providing additional proof of how the vaccines function against these quickly spreading pathogens.
According to Dr. Brendan Jackson, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 response, “Today we have more data to suggest that these revised immunizations protect patients against the newest COVID-19 variants.”
The revised boosters, released last autumn, target the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s no longer prevalent BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron strains. The currently prevalent subvariants of XBB are descended from the BA.2 variant of Omicron.
Concerns regarding the effectiveness of the immunizations against these emerging virus strains were raised by laboratory research that revealed vaccine protection was less effective against the XBB variations than against earlier versions.
Researchers examined COVID-19 instances from December 1 through January 13 for the study. During this time, the U.S. circulation of XBB and XBB.1.5 rose.
According to the CDC, approximately half of those who had previously gotten two to four doses of the original COVID-19 vaccination showed evidence that the upgraded vaccine had contributed to their ability to avoid the disease.
According to the CDC, the revised vaccination was equally effective against illnesses linked to BA.5 and XBB/XBB.1.5.
In people ages 18 to 49; it was 48% effective against XBB/XBB.1.5 and 52% effective against infections caused by BA.5. Among those 65 years of age and older, effectiveness decreased to 37% against BA.5 and 43% against XBB/XBB.1.5.
Jackson said data to be presented later on Wednesday, which did not appear in the research, reveal that the revised vaccination lowered the chance of mortality from COVID-19 by more than threefold compared to those who had gotten the vaccine but had not received the updated booster.
The new vaccine also cut the chance of COVID-19 mortality in unprotected persons by about 13 times.
According to study author Ruth Link-Gelles of the CDC, vaccinations reduce the chance of symptomatic illness in a group by roughly half, but the benefits vary depending on an individual’s risk factors.
The estimations, according to Link-Gelles, are for symptomatic infection, which the CDC defines as having one or more COVID-19 symptoms. The CDC advised patients to continue receiving their recommended COVID-19 vaccinations in light of the results.
According to official statistics, the week ending January 21 was thought to have seen roughly 50% of cases in the United States.
The CDC study was released in advance of a conference on Thursday when outside experts to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are anticipated to debate whether or not the country should distribute the COVID vaccination as an annual injection.
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