Shionogi Co. is considering developing a vaccine for the new omicron variant of the coronavirus, a company official says. AP
The Osaka-based firm official said Shionogi has already started preparations for manufacturing active ingredients that will be used as a base to develop the vaccine for the Omicron strain, which may be highly transmissible or pose an increased risk of reinfection to people who have previously caught the coronavirus.
Concerns are growing over the Omicron variant with a large number of mutations, which was first reported to the World Health Organization by South Africa last month and has since been confirmed in a growing number of countries. Japan has yet to detect a case.
Shionogi is currently conducting a final clinical trial for its COVID-19 vaccine, aiming to bring it into practical use by March. It would be the first domestically produced vaccine for the respiratory disease caused by the virus.
The company is also developing an oral drug for patients with mild and moderate COVID-19 symptoms that would prevent them from worsening. It will speed up efforts to confirm whether the anti-viral drug will be effective for the Omicron variant as well, the official said