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Moderna says the new COVID enhancer is effective against the subvariants

(A hill) — Moderna on Monday announced its updated bivalent booster injection that produces “significantly higher” levels of antibodies to protect against omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants compared to the biotech company’s original injection formulation.

Subvariants accounted for the majority of cases nationwide until recent weeks, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows now that proportion has fallen to about one-third of cases.

The new findings, from a trial of more than 500 adults who were boosted with the original formula before receiving the updated shot, mark a positive sign for the new boosters, which have been developed by the company to more effectively combat the sub-variants.

Moderna made the announcement on Monday news release but did not publish the data in a medical journal, and the results were not peer-reviewed.

“We are pleased to see that both of our bivalent booster vaccine candidates provide superior protection against the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 variants compared to our original booster, which is encouraging given that COVID-19 remains a leading cause of hospitalization and death in to the whole world,” Moderna CEO Stefan Bansel said in a release.

The company said it found that the updated accelerators also showed evidence of neutralizing BQ.1.1, an emerging subvariant that currently accounts for about 24 percent of cases but is growing each week, although Moderna cautioned that these findings were derived from exploratory analysis .

“Our bivalent boosters also show in exploratory assays neutralizing activity against BQ.1.1, an increasingly dominant variant, confirming that the updated vaccines have the potential to protect as the virus continues to evolve rapidly, evading our immunity,” – Bansel added.

The number of COVID-19 cases has declined since late July, but has risen slightly since mid-October, the report said CDC data.

CDC Advisory Panel adding COVID vaccinations is recommended regular immunization of patients when they are older than six months.

But uptake of the new boosters has been slow, and the vast majority of Americans have yet to be vaccinated.


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