Moderna said it had shared the new finding on its vaccine with regulators and submitted it for peer review publication (Photo: AP)

Moderna has said that the clinical trial data showed its updated COVID-19 vaccine shot generated an 8.7-fold increase in neutralizing antibodies in humans against the highly-mutated BA.2.86 subvariant of the coronavirus that has raised fears of a resurgence of infections, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

“We think this is news people will want to hear as they prepare to go out and get their fall boosters,” Reuters quoted Jacqueline Miller head of infectious diseases in Moderna said in an interview, adding that the data should also help reassure regulators.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has previously indicated that BA.2.86 may be more capable of causing infection in people who previously had COVID or were vaccinated with previous shots. 

The Omicron offshoot carries more than 35 mutations in key portions of the virus compared with XBB.1.5, the dominant variant through most of 2023 and the target of the updated shots.

Moderna said it had shared the new finding on its vaccine with regulators and submitted it for peer review publication.

The retooled Moderna shot is expected to be available later this month or in early October, though it is yet to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Meanwhile, rival COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers Novavax and Pfizer with German partner BioNTech have created versions of their shots aimed at the XBB.1.5 subvariant.

In August, Moderna and Pfizer each said their new vaccines appeared to be effective against another new subvariant of concern dubbed EG.5 in initial testing.

Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has approved Pfizer/BioNTech shot, but have not make any announcements on Moderna’s updated vaccine.

A WHO official said the BA.2.86 the subvariant of the coronavirus has been detected in Switzerland, South Africa as well as Israel, Denmark, the US and Britain.

According to experts it is important to monitor the variant, but it is unlikely to cause a wave of severe disease and death because of immune defenses built up worldwide from mass vaccination and prior infection.

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Updated: 06 Sep 2023, 05:44 PM IST

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