EU taps Moderna for more COVID variant jabs

The EU said Tuesday is has struck an agreement with Moderna to delay deliveries of COVID vaccines in order to boost the likelihood of receiving jabs against Omicron variants. "Doses originally scheduled for delivery in the summer will now be delivered in September and during the autumn and winter period 2022," the European Commission said in a statement.
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Rowan County COVID-19 Cases Remain High

ROWAN CO., N.C. — Rowan County is reporting a high COVID transmission level as more and more people are testing positive. Officials say North Carolina now has 67 counties that are considered high for transmission of COVID-19, including Rowan County. As of this past Wednesday, officials say the CDC...
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BioNTech reports strong first half, expects demand to grow

BERLIN (AP) — BioNTech, which teamed with Pfizer to develop a powerful COVID-19 vaccine, has reported higher revenue and net profit in the first half of the year and expects demand to grow as it releases updated vaccines to target new omicron strains. The German pharmaceutical company said Monday that revenue hit about 9.57 billion euros ($9.76 billion) in the first six months of 2022, up from nearly 7.36 billion euros in the same period a year earlier. But revenue dropped to about 3.2 billion euros in the second quarter from 5.31 billion euros in April through June of last year. BioNTech said the dynamic nature of the pandemic has led to changes in orders and revenue but that it expects a strong end to the year. It said it plans to release revamped vaccines tailored to the latest omicron variants as early as October, which could lead to a fall booster campaign. “With our initiatives around variant-adapted COVID-19 vaccine candidates, we expect an uptake in demand in our key markets in the fourth quarter of 2022, subject to regulatory approval,” Jens Holstein, chief financial officer of BioNTech, said in a press release.

Antibody affinity and cross-variant neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1, BA.2 and BA.3 following third mRNA vaccination

There is limited knowledge on durability of neutralization capacity and antibody affinity maturation generated following two versus three doses of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines in naïve versus convalescent individuals (hybrid immunity) against the highly transmissible Omicron BA.1, BA.2 and BA.3 subvariants. Virus neutralization titers against the vaccine-homologous strain (WA1) and Omicron sublineages are measured in a pseudovirus neutralization assay (PsVNA). In addition, antibody binding and antibody affinity against spike proteins from WA1, BA.1, and BA.2 is determined using surface plasmon resonance (SPR). The convalescent individuals who after SARS-CoV-2 infection got vaccinated develop hybrid immunity that shows broader neutralization activity and cross-reactive antibody affinity maturation against the Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 after either second or third vaccination compared with naïve individuals. Neutralization activity correlates with antibody affinity against Omicron subvariants BA.1 and BA.2 spikes. Importantly, at four months post-third vaccination the neutralization activity and antibody affinity against the Omicron subvariants is maintained and trended higher for the individuals with hybrid immunity compared with naïve adults. These findings about hybrid immunity resulting in superior immune kinetics, breadth, and durable high affinity antibodies support the need for booster vaccinations to provide effective protection from emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants like the rapidly spreading Omicron subvariants.