American pharmaceutical giant Moderna (Nasdaq: MRNA) has released new data on the efficacy of a booster shot to produce an immune response against the highly-transmissive Omicron variant of COVID-19, noting the results are “reassuring”.
The company says that the currently authorised 50 microgram booster of its mRNA vaccine increases Omicron neutralising antibody levels approximately 37-fold compared to pre-booster levels.
However, a 100 microgram booster, which is not yet approved, delivers increased neutralising antibody levels approximately 83-fold compared to pre-boost levels.
“The dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases from the Omicron variant is concerning to all. However, these data showing that the currently authorised Moderna COVID-19 booster can boost neutralising antibody levels 37-fold higher than pre-boost levels are reassuring,” Moderna chief executive officer 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 SARS-CoV-2.”
As such, the company is continuing to advance the production of booster candidates to address emerging variants of concern such as Omicron.
Moderna’s strategy includes evaluating the prototype vaccine at the authorised booster dose level of 50 micrograms, and a higher dose of 100 micrograms.
“Moving forward, given the strength of the mRNA-1273 and the speed at which the Omicron variant is spreading, Moderna’s first line of defense against Omicron will be a booster dose of mRNA-1273,” Moderna said.
“Given the long-term threat demonstrated by Omicron’s immune escape, Moderna will also continue to develop an Omicron-specific variant vaccine (mRNA-1273.529) that it expects to advance into clinical trials in early 2022 and will evaluate including Omicron in its multivalent booster program.”
Updated at 12.05pm AEDT on 21 December 2021.
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