New Moderna COVID-19 vaccine five times more effective
Moderna has unveiled a new Omicron COVID-19 vaccine that it says is five times more effective at boosting antibodies compared to its previous jab. The vaccine, which would also protect against the initial Wuhan strain, may only need to be administered once a year.
The US company reported that early clinical trials showed the next-generation jab produced 9,500 units of antibody in vaccinated individuals, compared to a maximum of 1,800 units with an original booster jab.
Moderna will submit the data to regulators “in the coming weeks”, and expects it to get clearance in late summer. The company has not yet requested authorisation from the FDA, though they would like to “as quickly as possible”.
Paul Burton, Moderna’s CMO, said: “I think for the first time we could really be looking at that potential for just once-yearly boosting, because we can get people to such a high antibody level that it will just take longer to decay.”
“I think we should have good protection (against new variants) but if we had something remarkably different, we would have to pivot quickly and start producing that new vaccine.”
Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “Using different strains of virus in a single vaccine is very familiar in flu vaccines, to try and provide continuing protection when a virus is changing its characteristics, as is happening with SARS-CoV-2.”
The jab must still pass regulatory tests by the MHRA, as well as being recommended by the JCVI, before it can be distributed across the UK.
Pharmaceutical Industry news, analysis and insights