CureVac/GSKTübingen, Germany–based CureVac N.V. (Nasdaq:CVAC) and its partner GSK (NYSE:GSK) have announced positive preclinical data about their second-generation COVID-19 vaccine candidate that combines mRNAs for the beta and delta variants.

The companies conducted the preclinical research in conjunction with the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Germany.

The research pitted the bivalent candidate against monovalent COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

The bivalent vaccine generated a robust immune response in animals, resulting in a significant reduction of viral load, high neutralizing antibody titers and strong T cell responses.

In a test focused on rats, the bivalent vaccine candidate resulted in a two-fold increase in neutralizing antibody titers against the omicron variant compared to the delta variant.

The researchers also tested the vaccine candidate in transgenic mice expressing the human ACE2 receptor.

The companies have published a manuscript of the preclinical data on the preprint server bioRxiv.

CureVac has also pursued a multivalent strategy in developing influenza vaccines.

Moderna also announced that its bivalent COVID-19 booster candidates offer stronger protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants.