mRNA biochemist weighs in on bivalent Covid-19 boosters

The boosters are called bivalent boosters; meaning they are made to better protect against the...
The boosters are called bivalent boosters; meaning they are made to better protect against the omicron sub variants BA 4 and BA 5.
Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 7:49 PM EDT
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(WBNG) -- Covid-19 is still in our communities, and as we learn to live in a world with the presence of Covid, new research continues to focus on how to lessen the severity of confirmed cases. The latest effort is a bivalent Covid-19 vaccine booster, which has emergency use authorization.

Rob Swanda, a mRNA biochemist and a Windsor graduate, said this latest booster uses mRNA technology. He said this essentially allows us to make one of the viral proteins found on SARS-coV-2 and gives our bodies a snapshot of what that protein looks. If our bodies see it in the future, it will then know to destroy the viral protein before it makes us sick.

Swanda went over what this bivalent vaccine targets this time around. “We’re looking specifically at that omicron variant family of mutations,” he said. “We want to protect against the new variant, but also we are given a little bit more of the old because there could be other variants that can pop up in the future.”

To get the bivalent booster, you need an initial approved vaccine series. He says you need to be at least 12 or older for Pfizer’s bivalent booster. For the Moderna option, you need to be 18 or older.

Swanda also talked about a future vaccine in the works right now. “We’re kind of trying to think how can we put a bunch of these respiratory viruses into one shot so individuals can walk in, they get one shot, and it can cover a few different viruses,” said the mRNA biochemist. “Flu and Covid is one of those that’s actually entering stage 2 clinical trials right now trying to combat both the flu virus as well as Covid booster. So that’s something really cool to be on the lookout for.”

If you choose to get this latest vaccine, to help find a location near you, head to this website.