Moderna said on Monday that a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine should provide protection against the fast-spreading Omicron variant.
Moderna said laboratory tests showed that the half-dose booster shot increased levels of so-called neutralizing antibodies capable of fighting Omicrons by 37 times.
And a full-dose booster was even stronger, causing an 83-fold jump in antibody levels, albeit with an increase in common side effects, the company said. While half-dose shots are being used for most Moderna boosters, a full-dose third shot has been recommended for people with weakened immune systems.
Moderna announced the preliminary laboratory data in a press release and has yet to be scientifically reviewed. But a trial by the US National Institutes of Health announced last week by Dr. Anthony Fauci found a similar leap.
Similarly, Pfizer’s trial found that its COVID-19 vaccine produced an equally big jump in omicron-fighting antibodies. Vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna, both made from mRNA technology, are used by many countries around the world to fight the coronavirus.
Together, the available evidence supports a growing number of health officials’ arguments that people can get their boosters as soon as they are eligible.
Antibody levels predict how well a vaccine can prevent infection with the coronavirus but they are just one layer of the immune system’s defenses. Other research suggests that even if people do experience a successful infection, the vaccine should still provide good protection against serious illness.
Both Moderna and Pfizer are developing shots to better match the Omicron variant when needed.
The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. AP is solely responsible for all content.
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