,Moderna (MRNA.O) announced that preliminary findings from a research showed that its modified COVID-19 vaccination was effective against the “Eris” and “Fornax” subvariants in humans.
The company anticipates that the modified vaccine will be ready in the coming weeks for the fall immunization season, pending approval from health officials in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere.
Moderna and other COVID-19 vaccine makers Novavax (NVAX.O), Pfizer (PFE.N) and German partner BioNTech SE (22UAy.DE) have created versions of their shots aimed at the XBB.1.5 subvariant.
Earlier on Thursday, Pfizer reported that its updated COVID-19 shot, co-developed with BioNTech, showed neutralizing activity against the Eris subvariant in a study conducted on mice.
Eris, the nickname for EG.5, is similar to the XBB.1.5 subvariant and a sub-lineage of the still-dominant Omicron variant.
EG.5 accounted for about more than 17% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to the latest government data. Infections from Fornax, officially known as FL 1.5.1, are also rising across the country.
COVID-19 related hospitalizations in the U.S. are up more than 40% on low numbers from June, but are still more than 90% below peak levels hit during the Omicron outbreak in January 2022.
The World Health Organization classified EG.5 as a “variant of interest”, indicating that it should be more closely watched than others because of mutations that might make it more contagious or severe.