Moderna Advances Two New Vaccines Targeting Omicron Variants
by: The Beat Asia
July 13, 2022
American pharmaceutical company Moderna plans to advance two vaccine strains targeting Omicron variants BA.1, as well as BA.4 and BA.5.
New editions are both bivalent vaccines, which means they can target both the original COVID-19 variant from 2020, as well as newer mutations that have surfaced around the world. Up until now, vaccines and boosters that are available on the market only target the original version of the SARS-CoV-2 virus attributed to the initial outbreak in Wuhan.
Moderna’s new BA.1 booster is geared towards the Omicron variant that was first identified in South Africa in November 2021 and is set to be made available in the EU, United Kingdom, and Australia by early August. Headed West towards the U.S. are their BA.4 and BA.5 vaccines, which are planned to be released in the fall season.
Comparative to the vaccines available in Hong Kong, Moderna’s vaccines utilisze the same type of mRNA technology as the Pfizer-BioNTech. Clinical data from Moderna shows that the new BA.1 vaccine has a higher neutralizing antibody response compared with currently authorized vaccines.
It is still unknown when, or if, the new vaccine strains will be made available in Hong Kong. As of July 12, the number of the local population who have received their third booster shot through the Moderna vaccine consists of 2,897,611 individuals, whilst those who have received their fourth Moderna jab total 93,860 people.
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