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A riskier approach to new vaccines will pay off

The UK has been hit by three consecutive waves of Omicron variants, each one appearing in a matter of weeks. If a future variant proves much more dangerous, we will not have much time to brace for impact. So what can be done? The answer: develop better vaccines. The simplest approach is, as with flu, to try to predict where the virus will be four to six months ahead, and to make booster doses accordingly. That looks feasible. After scaling up to meet demand for vaccines in 2021, the world has “unprecedented production capacity”, says Rasmus Bech Hansen, founder of Airfinity, a health analytics company — enough to produce another 8bn doses this year. But better, if we can figure out how to do it, is to make a vaccine that targets all Sars-Cov-2 variants, or a wider family of coronaviruses including Sars or, even more ambitiously, all coronaviruses.

Financial Times - July 15, 2022

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