According to new studies, a third dose of Moderna’s covid-19 vaccine is effective at boosting antibodies to help fight against Omicron. Moderna says, “A 50 microgram booster dose produced a 37-fold increase in neutralizing antibodies.”
Moderna’s CEO Stephane 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.”
Sam Fazeli, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst cautioned, “The actual fold increase is only valuable if it’s compared with other vaccines. These levels should increase protection against infection but the key question is how long do they last.”
Stephen Hoge, the president of Moderna said, “the magnitude of boosting we are seeing here is quite reassuring. We think we are comfortably above what for other variants of concern was a correlate of breakthrough risk.”
Hoge said they will continue to monitor data and get a better idea of how the booster holds up in early 2022. The initial data we have now is from a small sample size of 20 booster recipients with each dose, with “antibody levels measured on day 29 post-boost”. Moderna did also tests with a 100 microgram dose which led to higher neutralizing antibodies than the 50 microgram dose, but they do not have plans to ask health officials and regulators for authorization of the higher dose as a booster. This size of a dose is already approved for people who are immune compromised.
Moderna is planning to continue developing boosters for the variants of Covid-19. Hoge said on a call, “We believe that we are going to be living with this virus, its strains and variants, forever.”
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