New COVID-19 boosters: 3 things to know

Amid a late-summer increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the next booster shot targeting XBB.1.5 might be available as early as Sept. 13. 

Three things to know:

1. Experts said the updated, monovalent COVID-19 vaccine should have been ready by early August as more states reported an uptick in cases. At the time, federal agencies were bouncing between a rollout in September or October. The latest timeline puts the launch as early as the week of Sept. 13, according to ABC News, since the FDA is expected to OK the vaccines in the next few days, a CDC panel is scheduled for Sept. 12 and the CDC director is poised to sign off.

2. XBB.1.5 was dominant in June, when the FDA advised vaccine-makers to alter formulas, and it now accounts for 3.1 percent of cases — nine other variants account for more cases, according to CDC data. A similar pattern emerged last year: The FDA pointed drugmakers to target BA.4 and BA.5 during summer 2022, and by the time the shots were in pharmacies, BA.5 overtook BA.4 in dominance. 

3. Moderna said Sept. 6 that its XBB.1.5-focused vaccine showed efficacy in neutralizing antibodies against the EG.5, FL.1.5.1 and BA.2.86 variants. As of Sept. 2, EG.5 accounts for 21.5 percent of cases, FL.1.5.1 for 14.5 percent and BA.2.86 for less than 1 percent. Moderna's statement focused on BA.2.86, adding that its booster generated an 8.7 percent increase in neutralizing the variant's antibodies.


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