Moderna’s new booster produces a stronger response against Omicron

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Moderna Inc said on Wednesday that an improved version of its coronavirus vaccine produced a better immune response as a booster dose against the Omicron variant than the original injection in a study.

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The study results raised the company’s hopes that the vaccine will be used in an immunization campaign in the fall season. Moderna will submit the data to regulators “in the coming weeks” and expects it to be approved in late summer.

With general demand for vaccines declining, companies have shifted gears and are targeting a more competitive booster dose market.

In the study, which did not measure vaccine efficacy, the booster, mRNA-1273,214, increased virus neutralizing antibodies eight-fold against Omicron.

Moderna has been studying the so-called bivalent vaccine, which targets both Omicron and the original coronavirus strain, to determine whether it works better against the variant.

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Several studies have shown that vaccine immunity begins to wane over time, and the Omicron variant partially evades any two-dose protection.

“We expect more durable protection against variants of concern with mRNA-1273,214, making it our lead candidate for a fall 2022 booster,” Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said in a statement.

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