Moderna says Omicron-containing booster outperforms current vaccine 

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Moderna said Wednesday that using a new version of its Covid-19 vaccine as a booster led to a superior antibody response against the Omicron variant compared to its current shot.

The company said it plans to submit its data to the Food and Drug Administration in the coming weeks and that it hopes that the new booster will be available in the late summer.

Moderna’s booster, called mRNA1273.214, is a bivalent vaccine, meaning it contains mRNA coding for the spike protein for both the original strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the newer Omicron strain. The company had previously released data showing that a bivalent vaccine containing mRNA coding for the spike protein for the original virus and the protein from the Beta variant of SARS-CoV-2 provided better antibody protection than the original vaccine.

Moderna said giving vaccinated volunteers a boost with mRNA1273.214 increased geometric mean titers, a measure of antibody levels, eight-fold.

The FDA has been holding public hearings on how to choose which strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus should be included in booster shots in the fall and who should receive those shots. Another meeting on whether and how the SARS-CoV-2 strain composition of Covid-19 vaccines should be modified is being held on June 28. However, companies have warned that choices will need to be made soon in order for vaccines to be available in the fall.

In a statement, Stephane Bancel, Moderna’s CEO, said that the data mean this bivalent vaccine is “our lead candidate for a Fall 2022 booster.”

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