The director of the European Medicines Agency, Emer Cooke, said on Tuesday that the agency has plans to accelerate the adaptation of vaccines to the new omicron variant if necessary, a process that he has estimated will take between three and four months. .
In an intervention in the European Parliament, Cooke wanted to send a message of caution in the face of the new variant and insisted that many elements of the new variant are still unknown to determine whether existing vaccines will have to be adapted.
“We don’t know yet if this will be needed, but in any case we have contingency plans in place. We work with regulators because we hope for the best, but we are prepared for the worst. “, has affirmed the person in charge of the EMA.
At all times he has stressed that existing vaccines are still effective against the variants that circulate in Europe. “We know that the virus is mutating and there will be a point where we have to change the current approach,” has stated, insisting that current vaccines protect against the coronavirus and reiterating the advice to receive the booster dose.
Adapting vaccines would take “Between three and four months” from the moment the decision is made, it has explained Cooke, after noting that the epidemiological situation should first be studied in Europe, the level of circulation of the variant and factors of the European population such as age or vaccination in the expansion of the variant.
All these factors differ greatly from the situation in South Africa, where the omicron variant was detected for the first time, has stressed the executive director of the EMA, which has reiterated that the agency is already working in this direction in coordination with other European institutions, the World Health Organization (WHO) and pharmaceutical companies. “It is something for which we are prepared,” he summarized before MEPs.