Moderna’s Omicron booster produces stronger reaction to subvariants, company says

Just a couple of weeks after the FDA suggested that COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers modify their boosters to target the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, Moderna’s Omicron booster looks promising, according to the company’s new data.

On Monday, the mRNA specialist reported that their bivalent booster focused on Omicron induced more neutralizing antibody responses than the present booster. The company said that after one month, the BA.4 and BA.5 neutralizing antibodies of trial participants who got the bivalent booster were 1.69 times greater than those who received the original booster.

The information has been shared with regulators and is being peer-reviewed.

Based on market demands, the company is collaborating with regulators to promote two bivalent vaccination candidates.

 “We are very pleased that our bivalent platform continues to demonstrate better performance than the current booster,” said the company.

“Today’s update extends the remarkable performance of mRNA-1273.214, demonstrating significantly higher titers against all tested variants, including the BA.4/5 and BA.1 Omicron subvariants, and adds to the largest body of data confirming the superiority of a bivalent approach,” said Stephane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, in the statement. “This superior breadth and durability of immune response following a bivalent booster has now been shown in multiple Phase 2/3 studies involving thousands of participants.”

One of Moderna’s prospects is predicted to have “much higher titers” against the BA.4/5 variations, while the other is based on the BA.4/5 strain and is being developed “compatible with current FDA recommendations,” according to the firm. Each candidate has 25 nanograms of an omicron subvariant and 25 nanograms of a current booster.

 The revised boosters are expected to hit the market by the fall of this year, according to the government’s plan. Moderna’s Omicron booster had predicted a launch date of October or early November, while Pfizer stated their Omicron booster might be ready by early October, as we previously reported.

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