Moderna’s booster vaccine significantly strengthens the level of antibodies that can combat the Omicron variant, the pharmaceutical giant said today.
It comes as the new strain of Covid-19 shows signs of slowing in some countries, including South Africa.
“The dramatic increase in Covid-19 cases from the Omicron variant is concerning to all. 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,” Moderna CEO 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.”
The pharmaceutical boss added that Moderna will also continue to generate and share data across its booster strategies with public health authorities to help them make “evidence-based decisions” on the best immunisation strategies.
Moderna added that it plans to test an Omicron-specific booster vaccine early next year and will include Omicron in a multivalent booster.
Fellow coronavirus vaccine makers Pfizer and BioNTech confirmed earlier this month that its booster jab is also effective in tackling the highly contagious strain.
New daily Covid-19 cases appear to be slowing in South Africa, where the Omicron variant was first detected, as well as Austria, Germany and the Netherlands, according to Our World in Data.
While cases climb in both the UK and France, which shut its borders to Brits last week, there is hope that the latest wave will be short-lived.
“Each six months will be better than the last six months”, chief medical officer Chris Whitty said last week.
“If I project forward, I would anticipate in a number of years – possibly 18 months, possibly slightly less, possibly slightly more – that we will have polyvalent vaccines, which will cover a much wider range, and we will probably have several antivirals.
“I think what will happen is the risks will gradually decrease over time. It’s incremental, it’s not a sudden thing.”