The New Moderna Vaccine Booster Could Be the “Turning Point” For the Pandemic

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Coronavirus vaccine vial with AstraZeneca logo a black background.The concept of medicine, healthcare and science.

With COVID-19 cases surging again, many people are wondering what the future of the global pandemic will look like in the U.S. Amid the uncertainty, however, a recently authorized antiviral treatment and a new Moderna booster set for fall have experts suggesting there could be an end in sight.

Early Wednesday, Moderna officials announced that their new bivalent booster offers “superior antibody response against omicron, compared to the company’s current vaccine,” according to ABC News. Moderna’s chief medical officer Paul Burton, MD, told ABC news, “We could for the first time, be at a vaccine that is truly effective with once yearly dosing because we know those antibody levels will decay.” Dr. Burton noted that, according to the data, he believes this new booster to be “highly effective” and a “turning point” for the global pandemic.

For context, this bivalent booster combines the original Moderna shot with a vaccine specifically targeting omicron — and the results in individuals are “highly effective,” confirms Dr. Burton. As for the proposed side effects, CNN reports that they are “similar to booster doses of the current vaccine,” meaning individuals could expect “fever, headache, fatigue, and pain at the injection site.”

Though this is very exciting news, it’s important to note that Moderna has not requested authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just yet, though they’d like to “as quickly as possible,” per ABC News. As for when it could potentially become authorized by the FDA, the website states that for “priority review,” it aims to take action on an application “within six months.”

In a news release, Moderna spokesperson Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna, said, “we anticipate more durable protection against variants of concern with mRNA-1273.214, making it our lead candidate for a Fall 2022 booster.” The FDA will meet June 28 to discuss vaccine modifications for later this year.

As previously mentioned, this exciting announcement comes shortly after the FDA authorized an antiviral treatment called Paxlovid for emergency use treatment of “mild-to-moderate COVID-19” cases. Studies conducted by the drugmaker showed that Paxlovid was nearly “90 percent effective at cutting the risks of getting hospitalized or dying because of COVID,” for those who are unvaccinated, as reported in a previous POPSUGAR article. (To learn more about Paxlovid, you can find more answers here.)

For more information or to stay up-to-date with COVID-19 news, you can visit the CDC’s website.

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