While politicians have not yet decided on any concrete measures for a possible corona wave in autumn, there are positive signs, at least from the vaccine manufacturers. After the first studies with the Omicron vaccine, Moderna is confident.
The US biotechnology company Moderna has reported positive study results with a new corona vaccine that is intended to protect against both the original virus form and the omicron variant. According to the company, 814 adults who had already received three doses of Moderna's original corona vaccine Spikevax took part in the study. About half got a fourth dose of Spikevax, the second group got a dose of the new so-called bivalent vaccine against both variants.
The study participants who received the new bivalent vaccine had an average level of antibodies against the omicron variant that was about 75 percent higher than in the comparison group. Their immune protection against the earlier corona variants was also slightly higher than in the group that had received a fourth dose of Spikevax. "We are thrilled," said Moderna boss Stéphane Bancel about the study result. He expects that the new corona vaccine will be his company's favorite for an application for approval for a corona booster vaccination for the coming autumn.
"We want to be ready for delivery as early as August," Bancel announced in an interview with investors. Moderna acknowledged that the bivalent vaccine will generate slightly fewer antibodies against the new subtypes of omicron that are now circulating. However, the protective effect is still higher than with a booster vaccination with Spikevax. Moderna does not yet have data on the duration of protection provided by the new mRNA vaccine. In the United States, a panel of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to discuss the strategy for booster vaccinations for the fall and winter on June 28th.
German rival Biontech is also working with its US partner Pfizer on follow-up versions of its vaccine and intends to publish data on this in the coming weeks. However, the company is also hoping for approval by the fall. "Depending on the decision of the authorities, an adapted vaccine could be approved in August, September or autumn," said CEO Ugur Sahin at the general meeting of the biotech company in Mainz last week.