Moderna expects a new COVID-19 vaccine the drugmaker is developing that it says offers protection against the Omicron variant of the virus to be ready for public distribution by August.
The company has been manufacturing shots of the vaccine, called mRNA-1273.214, ahead of it getting regulatory approval in order to be ready for the fall and winter, when health experts say COVID-19 could flare.
Clinical trial data shows that the Moderna's so-called bivalent booster vaccine candidate is highly effective against the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants of the virus, which Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement "represent an emergent threat to global public health."
He added, "In the face of SARS-CoV-2's continued evolution, we are very encouraged that mRNA-1273.214, our lead booster candidate for the fall, has shown high neutralizing titers against the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, which represent an emergent threat to global public health."
Unlike the current "monovalent" version of the vaccine, which was designed to target the original strain of the virus, Moderna's latest vaccine also targets Omicron.