Moderna is an American vaccine-making company and it just revealed on Monday that its booster shot was effective against the Omicron variant. The company described its laboratory results as “reassuring”.
“We’ll be able to rely on this vaccine to address the near-term surge of Omicron cases,” Stephen Hoge, president of Moderna, said on a conference call.
However, Stephen stated that after only two doses, protection against Omicron was “substantially lower” than against the initial strain of COVID.
Giving a full dose of Moderna’s vaccine as a booster shot also provides more antibody protection against Omicron than the currently authorized half-strength injection, according to the announced results.
The lab took the measurements of the levels of Omicron-neutralizing antibodies in blood samples from 40 people who had low levels of these antibodies before getting the booster.
Currently, the company is suggesting giving 100 micrograms of the Moderna jab as a first and second dose for protection from COVID-19, followed by a 50-microgram booster.
After 29 days, the antibodies from the participants were measured again after they got the third dose. Half of them got a 50-microgram dose and the got that of 100 micrograms.
The initial data states that the antibody response to Omicron at the 50-microgram dose increased 37-fold – but when the dose was doubled, antibody levels increased 83-fold.
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel referred to the results as “reassuring” adding that the company continued to develop an Omicron-specific jab.
Hoge further stated that “we’re cautiously optimistic given the data presented here… that the authorized booster dose of 50 micrograms should provide good protection, we would hope, against the Omicron variant.”
“We do expect that there will be a need in the future for seasonal boosting,” he added.
The clinical trial for a targeted vaccine is expected to commence in early 2022. The company aims to bring a vaccine that simultaneously fights off multiple variants of the virus.
Real-world data was acquired from South Africa, and it showed two shots of the similar mRNA jab from Pfizer/BioNTech gave almost 70 percent protection against severe disease caused by Omicron.
In French daily Le Monde, BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said that after a third injection the jab seemed to provide between 70 and 75 percent protection against any form of the illness.
He added that his company should be able to offer an Omicron-specific vaccine from March, pending approval from regulators.