Pharma giant Moderna said this afternoon that its new bivalent vaccine targets both the original Covid strain and the Omicron variant.
The US firm said early clinical trials on 437 people had shown the jab led to an eight-fold jump in the levels of Omicron-specific “neutralising” antibodies compared to people who had not received a booster.
The vaccine, which Moderna has said is its lead candidate for an autumn booster programme, also worked well when compared with a shot of Moderna’s original vaccine.
Other firms are also working on vaccines that more specifically target Omicron after the variant was found to evade some of the protection offered by the first crop of vaccines.
Experts hope the newer jabs could help protect against a wider range of variants and may be helpful in protecting against new variants that might emerge.
Stephane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna, said: “Looking at these data alongside the durability we saw with our first bivalent booster candidate, mRNA-1273.211, we anticipate more durable protection against variants of concern with mRNA-1273.214, making it our lead candidate for a Fall 2022 booster.
“We are submitting our preliminary data and analysis to regulators with the hope that the Omicron-containing bivalent booster will be available in the late summer.”
In the UK, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended that care home residents, the over-65s, frontline health and social care workers and vulnerable younger people should be eligible for the next round of autumn vaccines.