Spain’s HIPRA Covid vaccine deemed ‘effective’ against Omicron variants

Spain's HIPRA Covid vaccine deemed 'effective' against Omicron variants. Image: davide bonaldo/Shutterstock.com

FOLLOWING the announcement from the World Health Organisation that Omicron 5 is making its way across Europe and the world, Spain’s Covid vaccine developed by HIPRA has confirmed that its jab works well against the BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron.

According to Spain’s HIPRA, the latest studies confirm the broad spectrum of protection offered by its vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 variants currently circulating in Europe.

It also showed “good safety and tolerability in clinical trials, with no relevant adverse effects recorded in study participants (the most common adverse effects were pain at the injection site, headache and fatigue which at no time interfered with activities of daily living and resolved within a few days)”.

“Longer-lasting neutralising antibody titres were also observed following a heterologous booster dose of the HIPRA vaccine, suggesting a longer duration of protection compared to currently available booster shots,” the company revealed on Tuesday, July 19.

“Recent studies have shown that the adjuvanted bivalent recombinant protein vaccine against COVID-19 developed by the biotechnology company HIPRA also confers protection against the BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants behind the latest surge in cases.”

It added: “An increase in neutralising antibodies against BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5 was observed 14 days after administration of the HIPRA vaccine as a booster dose in participants previously vaccinated with two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine.

“An increase in neutralising antibodies against BA.4/BA5 was also observed 14 days after a booster dose of the HIPRA vaccine in a subgroup of participants previously vaccinated with the Moderna mRNA vaccine.”

HIPRA continued: “Results from the Phase IIb trial show that the HIPRA vaccine as a heterologous booster dose elicits a potent neutralising antibody response (greater than 10-fold increase) against all variants studied (Wuhan, Beta, Delta and Omicron (BA.1) at 14 and 98 days.

“These increases were statistically significantly higher than those induced by a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at 98 days against the Beta, Delta and Omicron (BA.1) variants, and at 14 days against the Beta and Omicron (BA.1) variants).

“These outcomes indicate that the HIPRA vaccine generates a more sustained neutralising antibody response over time than the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine, suggesting more durable and effective protection against the newly circulating variants.”

The Hipra vaccine as a fourth dose

To expand on the data collected in clinical trials and, in parallel to the rolling review of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the company said it plans to conduct an extension of the Phase IIb trial (HIPRA-HH-2).

“The objective is to evaluate the safety and immune response of a 4th booster dose of the HIPRA vaccine,” the company said.

“A total of 200 volunteers from 10 hospitals in Spain are expected to participate in the study. Of these participants, half will have previously received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine + one dose of the HIPRA vaccine. The other half will have received three doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“The study, which is scheduled to start at the end of the summer, will launch once it has been approved by the Ethics Committee of the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona and the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices (AEMPS).”

Final phase

On March 29, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) began rolling review of the HIPRA vaccine. The EMA has been evaluating the compliance of the vaccine with the usual EU standards for effectiveness, safety and quality. This rolling review precedes the marketing authorisation of the vaccine.

For the company, “the HIPRA vaccine meets the current needs of the European Region. With close to 50% of the population still without a booster dose and with the autumn vaccination campaigns in mind, it can only be a good thing that vaccines based on technologies other than mRNA are available to European citizens.

“The broad spectrum of protection against the variants that have emerged and its good safety profile make the HIPRA vaccine an appealing solution for people who need to be vaccinated in accordance with the recommendations of health authorities,” it said.

As mentioned, with a new wave of Covid is sweeping across Europe, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised citizens across the world to “wear a mask” in the face of Omicron 5.

On Tuesday, July 19, WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge said that nearly 3 million Covid cases were reported in Europe last week.

He also said that Europe needs to address this new Covid wave to avoid much stricter measures later and not to wait for coming variant-adapted vaccines.


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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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