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Moderna data shows boosters can increase omicron-neutralizing antibodies

The data is encouraging, but the company says it’s still moving forward with an omicron-specific vaccine candidate.

Moderna data shows boosters can increase omicron-neutralizing antibodies
[Source Images: OsakaWayne Studios/Getty]

Amidst a recent spike in coronavirus infections in cities such as New York, where the number of new daily cases has nearly doubled over the past two weeks despite 83% of individuals 12 and older being fully vaccinated, Moderna today announced preliminary data findings for the company’s COVID-19 vaccine boosters. In a study involving 20 booster recipients, a 50-microgram Moderna booster increased omicron-neutralizing antibody levels 37 fold and a 100-microgram booster dose increased omicron-neutralizing antibody levels 83 fold. According to the preprint statement, antibodies were assessed 29 days after dosage and all groups involved in the study had “low neutralizing antibody levels” before receiving boosters.

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Also included in the announcement is data from the second and third phase of safety and tolerability testing involving the 100-microgram booster dose, which revealed that side effects and adverse reactions to the 100-microgram booster are “generally comparable” to those experienced around the first two jabs—though, compared to the 50-microgram dose, adverse reactions to the 100-microgram dose were more frequently reported.

“The dramatic increase in Covid-19 cases from the omicron variant is concerning to all,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement. “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.”

Bancel added that the company “will continue to rapidly advance an Omicron-specific booster candidate into clinical testing in case it becomes necessary in the future.”

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