VBI Vaccines Inc., a biopharmaceutical company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, announced on Wednesday that the initial clinical data from their Phase I trial of a pan-coronavirus vaccine candidate has shown significant and long-lasting protection against variants of concern.

The positive news caused a surge in the company's stock, increasing it by over 18% in early trading.

The trial involved 101 adults between the ages of 18 and 64 who had received either two or three doses of a mRNA COVID vaccine approved by Health Canada. The study evaluated the effectiveness of one and two dose booster regimens of VBI-2901, the experimental vaccine developed by VBI Vaccines Inc.

According to the company's statement, all participants exhibited substantial boosting and/or high neutralizing responses against various COVID-19 variants, including Wuhan, Delta, Beta, and Omicron BA.5. The vaccine also demonstrated efficacy against multiple animal coronaviruses, including bat and pangolin variants.

Importantly, the protective titers remained stable at the interim data point of six months, and there were no signs of safety concerns or significant adverse effects with the vaccine.

The statement further highlighted that participants with initially low neutralization titers, who are at higher risk of infection, experienced the most pronounced boost in immune response after receiving one dose of the vaccine. Notably, their neutralization titers increased by 8.5x against Wuhan, 9.1x against Delta, 14.2x against Beta, and 5.8x against Omicron BA.5 by day 28.

Comparatively, peak responses against Wuhan diminished by only about 25% after five months, whereas another study involving healthcare workers in Israel reported a roughly 77% decline in neutralizing titers against Wuhan after five months following a third dose of an mRNA vaccine.

VBI Vaccines Inc. experienced a significant decline in its stock performance throughout the year, dropping by 95% year-to-date. In contrast, the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF fell by 12%, while the S&P 500 gained 11.3%.

For more information on the new COVID-19 vaccine, refer to "5 things to know about the new COVID-19 vaccine."

Read also: "Famed historian laments distrust of vaccines that has divided America: ‘Viruses do not vote’."

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