Moderna Claims Third “Booster” Dose 37 Times More Effective Against Omicron

Moderna Claims Third “Booster” Dose 37 Times More Effective Against Omicron

If there’s one skill Pfizer, Moderna and their vaccine-producing big pharma rivals have mastered over the last two years since SARS-CoV-2 first stormed out of Wuhan and infected the world, it’s moving the goalposts – and not just with their rhetoric, with their research as well.

First it was two shots. Then it was two shots and a booster dose. Now, as COVID cases and hospitalizations surge in what’s shaping up to be another seasonal wave, Moderna has published new research purporting to show that a third full dose of its vaccine specifically increases antibody levels that are useful against the omicron variant.

A 50 microgram booster dose, which is half the dose used for primary immunization, created a 37x increase in neutralizing antibodies, the company said in a statement Monday. Moderna also tested a 100 microgram dose, which increased antibody levels 83x compared with the primary two-dose course.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel, who, like his chief rival, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, has spent much of the past month doing non-stop media interviews with TV and digital media outlets, praised the data as “reassuring” and a sign that the vaccine will help protect people who have already received it from the omicron variant (which, as many readers probably know by now, is only responsible for a tiny fraction of newly diagnosed cases in this wave). 

“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.”

The news helped create some lift for Moderna shares, which were trading more than 6% higher in premarket.

But as one Bloomberg analyst pointed out, while the findings are certainly encouraging, they will only be meaningful if they last.

“The actual fold increase is only valuable if it’s compared with other vaccines,” said Sam Fazeli, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst. ”These levels should increase protection against infection but the key question is how long do they last.”

Moderna’s data are based on lab tests using blood serum from 20 booster recipients with each dose, with antibody levels measured on day 29 after the booster dose has been received.

Moderna said it also plans to submit the results for online publication. The company is testing different booster candidates against a range of variants in mid and late-stage trials. The biotech said it plans to start testing its omicron-specific vaccine in humans early next year.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 12/20/2021 – 07:00

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