US biotech company Moderna on Wednesday announced positive results for a new vaccine that targets both the original Covid strain and Omicron.
This so-called "bivalent" vaccine was tested in a trial of 814 adults, who had all received their first three doses of Moderna's original Spikevax vaccine.
Around half the group then received a fourth dose of Spikevax, while the rest received the bivalent vaccine.
Those who received the bivalent vaccine had significantly higher levels of neutralizing antibodies -- Y-shaped immune system proteins that block the virus -- against Omicron.
On average, these levels were around 75 percent higher in the group who got the bivalent vaccine as a fourth dose compared to those who got the original vaccine as a fourth dose. They also received slightly superior protection to the ancestral strain of Covid compared to Spikevax.
"We are thrilled," said Stephane Bancel, CEO of Moderna in a statement, adding he anticipated this vaccine would be the company's lead candidate for authorization as a booster this fall.
"We want to be as ready as early as August for shipping," he told investors in a call.
Stephen Hoge, the company's president, did concede that antibody levels would be lower against Omicron's sub variants that are now in circulation, but said he believed it was still a superior booster than repeating Spikevax.
The company doesn't yet have data on durability -- how the new vaccine booster will fare three months and six months out.
A panel of Food and Drug Administration experts will meet June 28 to discuss considerations and strategies for boosters in fall and winter.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)