The debate about the ideal time to administer the fourth dose, or second booster, is in full swing. Meanwhile, Spanish company Hipra presented the latest scientific studies results on the efficacy of this vaccine as a booster dose. Hipra is the sixth largest pharmaceutical company in the world in terms of turnover in the field of animal health.
According to the company, the ‘made in Spain’ vaccine offers a ‘good neutralising response. This is also against the new omicron variants’, including BA.4 and BA.5, which caused the last wave of infections.
Moreover, the company expects that the vaccine will be included in the vaccination schedule for next autumn. This is when the Spanish government plans to administer the fourth dose to the most vulnerable population group. They will start with people aged over 80, and continue, in order of age, to people aged 60 and over.
Presentation of the results
The results and expectations were explained during an informative breakfast. Here Elia Torroella, director at Hipra, mentioned that ‘the vaccines that the company usually develops are very complex’. Therefore, this was a motivation for the pharma to develop a vaccine against Covid-19.
Torroella stressed that the data obtained on the efficacy of the Spanish vaccine against Covid are ‘very solid’. The company is currently ‘awaiting approval for its use by the regulatory authorities. However, it is expected that the vaccine will be included in the vaccination schedule in the coming autumn’.
Effective in all variants tested
One of the most striking features of Hipra’s 100% Spanish vaccine against Covid-19 is that it is bivalent and has demonstrated ‘very good neutralising power against all variants tested. This is including omicron BA.1’. In addition, preliminary data ‘also show good neutralisation against BA.2, Ba.4 and BA.5’, Torroella stressed.
Although the trials initially started as a primary vaccination dose, Torroella explained that since the pandemic is advanced and the variants have appeared very quickly, the trials were then started to observe the increase of neutralising antibodies against the new variants and to study their effectiveness as a booster dose.
Among the side effects observed during the trials, the Hipra director mentions ‘pain at the site of injection, headache, fatigue and, in fewer people, a slight discomfort that disappears after two or three days’. The specialist believes that this is ‘an important point, because we know that there is a certain fatigue in the population when it comes to booster doses’.
Torroella pointed out that it is ‘a vaccine that prevents infection in many cases, but not in others. In the trials we did not prevent all infections,’ but the vaccine, like existing vaccines, is effective in protecting against severe symptoms and even death from Covid-19.