Moderna and Pfizer ready updated COVID-19 boosters to combat BA.2.86 and other emerging variants

[Image courtesy of Production Perig/Adobe Stock]

Against the backdrop of a nearly 16% spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations in late August, according to CDC data, federal authorities are gearing up to greenlight updated boosters. Moderna announced that its latest COVID vaccine is effective against this new strain. Meanwhile, Pfizer revealed positive preclinical data for its vaccine, developed in collaboration with BioNTech.

In late August, Novavax also announced that its updated protein-based XBB COVID vaccine candidate retained neutralizing antibody responses to several emerging subvariants, including EG.5.1 and XBB.1.16.6. Unlike the mRNA-based boosters from Pfizer and Moderna, Novavax’s COVID vaccine would be the sole protein-based non-mRNA vaccine option available for the upcoming fall season.

The following visualization, based on CDC data, highlights the top SARS-CoV-2 variants for August and Sept…

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FDA authorizes expanded use of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine boosters

With the U.S. facing the biggest surge of COVID-19 infections to date, the FDA has decided to amend the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to cover adolescents aged 12 to 15 and for some immunocompromised children between the ages of 5 and 11. The agency has also reduced the window between the second and third doses from six to five months. 

“With the current wave of the omicron variant, it’s critical that we continue to take effective, life-saving preventative measures such as primary vaccination and boosters, mask-wearing and social distancing in order to effectively fight COVID-19,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock.

To arrive at its decision, FDA analyzed real-world data from Israel, including 6,300 individuals between the ages of 12 and 15 who received a booster dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine at least five months after receiving a second dose.  

The authorization for certain immunocompromised child…

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