Moderna says booster increases antibody levels significantly against omicron
Moderna announced on Monday that a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine significantly increases antibody levels against omicron.
The company said in a statement that preliminary data from a study showed that an authorized booster shot of 50 micrograms — which is half the amount used in the initial two Moderna doses — increases antibody levels against omicron 37-fold compared to pre-booster levels. However, when the initial dosage amount of 100 micrograms is used as a booster, neutralizing antibodies levels go up 83-fold, it added.
“The dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases from the Omicron variant is concerning to all. However, these data showing that the currently authorized Moderna COVID-19 booster can boost neutralizing antibody levels 37-fold higher than pre-boost levels are reassuring,” said Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel on Monday.
“To respond to this highly transmissible variant, Moderna will continue to rapidly advance an Omicron-specific booster candidate into clinical testing in case it becomes necessary in the future. We will also continue to generate and share data across our booster strategies with public health authorities to help them make evidence-based decisions on the best vaccination strategies against SARS-CoV-2.”
Moderna also said that the booster dose was safe and generally well-tolerated and side effects were comparable to those from the first two doses of its vaccine.
Moderna also said that it is working to create an omicron-specific vaccine, with clinical trials continuing into early 2022.
The company said that it will “continue to assess the breadth and durability of neutralizing antibodies from the multivalent booster candidates in the months ahead.”
Moderna previously found that two doses of its vaccine were less effective at preventing infection from the omicron variant.
Monday’s announcement comes one day after White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci said the omicron variant is “raging through the world.”
“Well, the one thing that’s very clear, and there’s no doubt about this, is its extraordinary capability of spreading, its transmissibility capability. It is just, you know, raging through the world, really,” Fauci told host Chuck Todd Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The omicron variant, which was first identified in South Africa last month, has since spread to a number of countries across the globe including the U.S., causing caseloads to skyrocket in many areas.
Pfizer announced earlier this month that a booster dose of its vaccine was also successful at significantly increasing neutralizing antibody levels against the omicron variant.
–Updated at 7:50 a.m.
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