Moderna’s First Bivalent COVID-19 Booster Vaccine Induces Greater Antibody Response Than Original Booster, Company Says

María Elena Botazzi, the Honduran scientist who could win a Nobel 3:20 (CNN) — The vaccine manufacturer Moderna announced Tuesday that its first bivalent booster vaccine against covid-19 – which combines elements of the current vaccine with updates based on the beta variant—induced a greater antibody response against all variants of interest, including omicron, compared to the company’s original booster vaccine. Moderna has been developing updated booster vaccine candidates to target emerging variants of the coronavirus, with both monovalent and bivalent candidates in the works. Monovalent vaccines are based on elements of a single strain of the virus. The company’s first bivalent candidate, dubbed mRNA-1273.211, was well tolerated, according to the company, and a preliminary study published last week on the Research Square online server found that mRNA-1273.211 generated greater antibody responses than the vaccine. booster that Moderna currently uses against the original coronavirus and its beta, omicron, and delta variants. According to Moderna, data on the candidate showed that “the superiority continued six months after administration also for the beta and omicron variants of interest.” Moderna scientists wrote in the preliminary study that the safety profile of a 50-microgram dose of the mRNA.1273.211 booster candidate “was comparable” to the current 50-microgram dose of the vaccine being administered. The study has not been peer-reviewed in a journal. “We are pleased with these data from our first bivalent booster candidate, mRNA-1273.211,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a press release on Tuesday. “We believe these results validate our bivalent strategy, which we announced and began pursuing in February 2021.” Despite the booster candidate’s superiority over the original vaccine, Bancel said a second bivalent booster candidate combining the currently approved vaccine with an omicron-specific vaccine remains the company’s lead candidate to possibly launch this fall. “Our latest bivalent booster candidate, mRNA-1273.214, which combines the currently licensed Moderna COVID-19 booster with our omicron-specific booster candidate, remains our leading candidate for the Northern Hemisphere booster in Fall 2022,” Bancel said. . “We look forward to sharing initial data on mRNA-1273,214 later in the second quarter. We believe that a bivalent booster vaccine, if licensed, would create a new tool as we continue to respond to emerging variants.”