Health · June 23, 2022

Covid-19: Updated modern vaccine touted as ‘watershed’ in fight against virus

An updated vaccine is being touted as a ‘game changer’ in the fight against two Omicron variants fueling a global Covid surge.

One of the largest vaccine makers has claimed the latest version of its Covid-19 vaccine can protect against the new strains of Omicron that are causing a surge in cases around the world.

US-based pharmaceutical company Moderna said on Wednesday that clinical data from trials of its newly formulated Covid booster vaccine stimulated a “strong neutralizing antibody response” against the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants.

“We are urgently submitting this data to regulators and preparing to ship our next-generation bivalent booster starting in August, ahead of a potential surge in SARS-CoV-2 infections due to Omicron subvariants in the early (northern autumn). Hemisphere). ‘ said Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, in a statement.

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A recent spike in recent Covid cases was largely due to the two new Omicron variants.

Australia reported a seven-day average of 28,000 new cases on Tuesday. That’s below the 50,000 daily new infections in mid-May and well below the 100,000 daily cases in mid-January. But the average number of new infections is increasing.

The UK has risen from around 6,000 registered cases a day in mid-May to 15,000 a day this month. The actual number of infections could be higher as not all are recorded.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has announced that BA.4 and BA.5 will become “dominant” and lead to a surge in Covid-19 cases over the next few weeks.

Not yet approved for use, Moderna’s reformatted Jab is bivalent, meaning it will target two different subgroups of the Covid-19 virus. In this case that is Omicron and the original covid coronavirus.

The company said clinical trials showed the shot – scathingly named mRNA-1273.214 – resulted in a five-fold increase in neutralizing antibodies to BA.4 and BA.5 in people who had previously been vaccinated or had Covid.

However, vaccination against BA.4/BA.5 is less effective than in combating the original Omicron variant BA.1.

The data has yet to be verified or peer-reviewed. However, Moderna is optimistic about the results.

“This is a strong, strong antibody response,” Paul Burton, Moderna’s chief medical officer, told Reuters.

“It’s likely to be long-lasting and I think the conclusions are that boosting or basic vaccination with (the updated vaccine) could really be a game changer in our fight against the SARS-cov-2 virus.”

Pfizer and BioNTech are also testing a new jab that, like Moderna’s, is bivalent.

Originally released as a vaccine maker, Moderna claims the updated jab is a “game changer” in combating Omicron