Moderna and Biontech/Pfizer have announced that the updated mRNA vaccines for coronavirus currently undergoing approval induce the production of neutralizing antibodies against the new virus variants EG.5 and FL.1.5.1.
In a press release, Moderna reports preliminary clinical study data for its updated Covid-19 vaccine, slated for the fall 2023 vaccination season. These data demonstrate a significant increase in neutralizing antibodies against the currently spreading virus variants EG.5 (Eris) and FL.1.5.1 (Fornax) in several countries. The new variant, EG.5, was recently classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “variant of interest.”
“These new findings, showing that our updated Covid-19 vaccine elicits a robust immune response against the rapidly spreading EG.5 and FL 1.5.1 strains, underscore the ability of our updated vaccine to combat emerging Covid-19 threats,” said Dr. Stephen Hoge, President of Moderna.
Previously, the US company Pfizer, in collaboration with the Mainz-based vaccine manufacturer Biontech, reported, according to Reuters, that their adapted vaccine for the fall showed neutralizing activity against EG.5 in mice.
The updated vaccines, both Moderna’s Spikevax® and Biontech/Pfizer’s Comirnaty®, are still under review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). They were developed based on the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5.
Although the new variants EG.5 and FL.1.5.1 sound quite different, they originate from the same Omicron virus variant in the XBB lineage as XBB.1.5 and, therefore, have nearly identical spike proteins. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), EG.5 is now the predominant variant in the United States, and according to the Robert Koch Institute, the numbers are also rising in Germany.
In May of this year, the EMA recommended waiting for the availability of the adapted vaccines from Moderna and Biontech/Pfizer before administering booster shots. Biontech expects to begin delivering the vaccine in September.
Original source: This information was Initially covered by pharmazeutische-zeitung.de and has been translated for our readers.