FDA advisers back updating COVID shots to target JN.1 virus family

A group of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday unanimously recommended that COVID-19 vaccines be updated to cover coronavirus strains with a family known as JN.1 ahead of the fall.

The committee, which had originally been scheduled to meet in mid-May, supported targeting the JN.1 lineage broadly, rather than some specific subvariants that are now more prevalent in the U.S. Their recommendation matches the advice of the World Health Organization, which in April also recommended COVID shots cover the JN.1 family.

According to documents prepared by FDA staff, a JN.1 offshoot known as KP.2 has been the dominant variant in the U.S. since April. Both the broader lineage and KP.2 are distinct from the XBB virus variants that vaccines currently target.

Committee members argued that aiming vaccines at JN.1 would be effective, although some did express concern the unpredictability of viral evolution could…
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