By Ike Swetlitz
Moderna Inc.’s updated Covid-19 shot provides some protection against two variants of the virus that are among those most widely circulating in the US, according to early results from a company study.
The vaccine significantly boosted levels of antibodies that target the EG.5 and FL.1.5.1 variants, Moderna said in a statement, citing unpublished clinical trial data. Those variants made up about 26% of Covid cases in the US earlier this month, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In June, the Food and Drug Administration advised drugmakers to target their shots against the variant XBB.1.5, which at the time was the dominant strain. Earlier in August, that variant made up just over 10% of cases, according to the CDC estimates.
The updated shot is under FDA review. If approved, it will be available within weeks, the company said.
Covid vaccine partners Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE are also developing updated shots, as is Novavax Inc. The drugmakers have been testing and making new updates as the virus has evolved.
In a separate statement, Pfizer said that its updated XBB.1.5 shot “effectively neutralizes” a number of variants, including EG.5.1, based on a study in mice.