June 22, 2022 – Moderna today released study results showing that its new Omicron-specific booster boosted coronavirus antibodies by a factor of 5, even against some of the newest and most concerning variants.
The company also announced today that it will soon apply to the FDA to license the vaccine for use. The company said shipments of this vaccine could begin as early as this summer.
The booster under development contains both Moderna’s original COVID-19 vaccine and a vaccine specifically designed to target the newer BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants.
The announcement comes at a time when the proportion of BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants in the United States is increasing. These two strains now make up about 35% of those circulating in the United States, according to CDC data.
BA.4 and BA.5 “represent an emerging threat to global public health,” said Stéphane Bancel, chief executive of Moderna, in a press release. “We will submit this data to regulators urgently and prepare to deliver our next-generation bivalent booster starting in August, ahead of a potential increase in SARS-CoV-2 infections due to Omicron subvariants in early fall.”
The combination vaccine, however, was not as potent against all Omicron variants, showing that antibodies against BA.4 and BA.5 were about three times weaker than against the older BA.1 variant.
The late-stage study shows that 1 month after giving the vaccine to previously vaccinated and boosted people, this new booster created “potent neutralizing antibody responses” against BA.4 and BA.5 in all who received the vaccine, regardless of previous infection, the company reports.
Today’s findings build on earlier results published earlier this month showing that the company’s original vaccine booster had a strong antibody response against the earlier BA.1 Omicron variant.