The omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus has become the dominant strain in the world and in the U.S. The subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 continue to gain ground in the U.S. Omicron and its growing subvariants have weakened the protection provided by the existing booster shots from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. The newer subvariants are much better at dodging the immune system. Moderna’s promising trial results for its new booster vaccine for the omicron variant are exciting. When will the omicron booster be available?
On June 8, Moderna said in a news release that its COVID-19 booster shot appears to provide stronger protection against the omicron variant than its current vaccine. Its vaccine has been designed as a bivalent vaccine, which will target the omicron variant and the original coronavirus strain in a single shot. According to the company, its vaccine led to an eightfold increase in neutralizing antibody levels.
The Moderna vaccine provides strong protection against the omicron variant.
The new vaccine was tested in a Phase 2/3 clinical trial of 437 people at 50 micrograms. According to the company, the vaccine met all primary endpoints in the Phase 2/3 trial including neutralizing the antibody response against omicron. The protection is deemed to be strong and potentially last as long as a year. An annual dose would be much less of a burden for the medical industry and the public.
When will the omicron booster be available?
Moderna announced in April that it plans to offer the bivalent booster in the fall. The company plans to submit the data to the FDA “in the coming weeks” and hopes that the new shot could be available late this summer, which could enable it to be used as a part of a fall booster campaign. The FDA is scheduled to meet on June 28 to discuss which shot or shots should be selected for COVID-19 vaccine booster doses for fall 2022.