Drugmaker Moderna said Monday its booster shot increased antibody levels against omicron in lab studies, providing what it called “reassuring” protection against the coronavirus variant that is ripping through many countries and will likely become dominant in the U.S.
Moderna said the half-dose booster of 50 micrograms increased antibody levels by 37-fold and a full dose of 100 micrograms increased antibodies by 83-fold.
The company’s booster is approved at the half dose level, but Moderna plans to discuss the best way forward with regulators.
“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,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said. “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 [the virus].”
The results were based on lab studies that used blood samples from Moderna vaccine recipients and samples of a pseudovirus that is harmless to humans but mimics the coronavirus.
Moderna said it will continue to study booster candidates in clinical trials that target the delta and omicron variants, specifically.
So far, federal officials haven’t announced plans to go beyond the current strategy of vaccinating as many people as possible and getting vaccinated persons a booster six months later.
President Biden on Tuesday plans to announce a proposal for combating the omicron variant, as cases surge ahead of the holidays.
Pfizer and BioNTech, the companies that make the other messenger-RNA vaccine in U.S. circulation, previously announced their booster appeared to protect against omicron, akin to defenses the primary vaccine series provided against the ancestral strain of the virus found in Wuhan, China.
• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.