Moderna says its experimental COVID-19 vaccine that combines its original shot with protection against the omicron variant appears to work.
COVID-19 vaccine makers are studying updated boosters that might be offered in the fall. Moderna says its combination booster candidate sparked an eight-fold increase in omicron-fighting antibodies.
Today's vaccines still offer strong protection against COVID-19 hospitalization and death but protection against milder infections wanes especially as the virus continues to mutate. Health authorities are considering whether to order a change in the vaccine recipe.
Moderna announced its preliminary study results Wednesday.
"We are thrilled to share the preliminary data analysis on mRNA-1273.214, which is the second demonstration of superiority of our bivalent booster platform against variants of concern and represents an innovation in the fight against COVID," said Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna. "Looking at these data alongside the durability we saw with our first bivalent booster candidate, mRNA-1273.211, we anticipate more durable protection against variants of concern with mRNA-1273.214, making it our lead candidate for a Fall 2022 booster. We are submitting our preliminary data and analysis to regulators with the hope that the Omicron-containing bivalent booster will be available in the late summer. Taken together, our bivalent booster candidates demonstrate the power of Moderna's mRNA platform to develop vaccines that meet immediate, global public health threats."
Moderna said it is planning to submit the interim analysis and data to regulators for review in the coming weeks.