Moderna today reported the first data on how well the currently approved vaccine and booster resist the Omicron variant, which quickly dominated new infections around the world after health experts first described the variant last November. The company also announced that it will study its Omicron-specific vaccine.
In a correspondence published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the company’s scientists reported the results of a study using blood samples from a small number of vaccinated participants. Antibody levels generated by Moderna’s primary two-dose regimen continued to neutralize Omicron in lab tests, but these levels were 35 times lower against Omicron than the original SARS-CoV-2, against which the vaccine was designed.
A booster dose of the vaccine — which is half of one dose of the original injection — increased antibody levels in 20 study participants up to 20-fold higher than levels generated after the second dose of the vaccine, eliminating some of the diminished protection. recovered. The scientists also tested a booster at the same dose as the primary two doses in an additional 20 volunteers, and that booster produced antibody levels at least two times higher than those generated by the half-dose booster. Currently, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has only approved the half-dose booster of Moderna’s injection, based on data before Omicron emerged that the half-dose elicited comparable antibody levels against previous variants as another full-dose booster.
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These antibodies to Omicron began to decline after about six months, the company reported. After peaking approximately one month after the booster, neutralizing antibody levels decreased 6.3 fold; even more worryingly, this decline was faster than the decline against the original virus targeted by the vaccine.
Such a rapid decrease in protection after boosting with the existing vaccine is a strong case for possible boosting with an Omicron-specific injection, which the company is studying. That trial will involve 300 people at 24 U.S. sites (this week, Pfizer and BioNTech also announced they have begun testing an Omicron-specific vaccine.) Moderna’s scientists are also evaluating combination vaccines, in which they synthesize vaccines that have been developed. for several variants, including one targeting the original virus and one targeting Omicron. Such a cocktail approach can provide broader, more sustainable protection against COVID-19.
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was original published at “https://time.com/6142852/moderna-booster-wanes-omicron/”