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Moderna: Updated COVID-19 Vaccine is Effective Against Newer Variants

Moderna’s newly updated COVID-19 vaccine demonstrates promising efficacy against emerging variants, according to recent trial data. The biotech company announced an 8.7 to 11-fold boost in neutralizing antibodies against the circulating strains, notably including the BA.2.86, EG.5, and FL.1.5.1 variants. The updated shot is awaiting FDA approval for fall deployment. Meanwhile, BioNTech’s vaccine targeting the Omicron XBB.1.5 received UK approval, with US approval pending. This fall, the US commercial sector will cover the vaccine costs, not the government. The updated vaccines offer hope amid the evolving pandemic.

The BA.2.86 strain, also referred to as “Pirola,” has gained attention due to its significant mutation count – over 30 mutations. Initially, this set off alarms among health officials, leading to fears of another major outbreak. However, research suggests that antibodies from previous infections or vaccinations may still neutralize the variant.

The updated Moderna shot, designed with these newer variants in mind, is currently awaiting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Should it get the green light, the vaccine could be administered during the upcoming fall vaccination season. This comes at a crucial time as hospitalizations surged by 87% in the past month, with the EG.5 variant, known as “Eris,” accounting for 21.5% of cases. The BA.2.86 variant has been detected in four US states, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Moderna is not the only player in this arena. Pfizer and BioNTech recently received approval from the UK regulators for their shot targeting the Omicron XBB.1.5 subvariant. This specific subvariant had been dominant on a global scale earlier this year. FDA approval for this shot is still pending. Additionally, Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax are anticipated to introduce new vaccines targeting the Omicron XBB.1.5 strain shortly.

In a significant departure from earlier practices, the upcoming fall will witness the US commercial sector bearing the costs for these vaccines, unlike previous instances when the government funded them.

While the fight against COVID-19 continues, these new vaccines provide a ray of hope as health professionals and the public navigate the changing landscape of the pandemic. With the anticipated roll-out of updated boosters as early as next week, pending FDA approval, efforts to curtail the spread and impact of the virus receive a much-needed reinforcement. The reference for the article:>>>

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