Moderna’s updated COVID-19 vaccine appears to generate a strong immune response against the BA.2.86 (Pirola) variant, a highly-mutated strain of SARS-CoV-2 that is being monitored by public health authorities. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the BA.2.86 variant may be more capable of causing infection in individuals with existing immunity from previous infection or vaccination. In June 2023, Moderna completed the submission of its application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an updated COVID-19 vaccine containing spike proteins for the XBB.1.5 sublineage of SARS-CoV-2 (mRNA-1273.815). Findings from a research assay show that the updated vaccine generated an 8.7 fold increase in neutralizing antibodies against BA.2.86.

“These results demonstrate that our updated COVID-19 vaccine generates a strong human immune response against the highly mutated BA.2.86 variant,” said Stephen Hoge, MD, President of Moderna. “Taken together with our previously communicated results showing a similarly effective response against EG.5 and FL.1.5.1 variants, these data confirm that our updated COVID-19 vaccine will continue to be an important tool for protection as we head into the fall vaccination season.” 

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This article originally appeared on MPR