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Moderna Says Updated Vaccine Tackles Omicron

Booster dose combining original vaccine with one specifically aimed at omicron led to 1.75 times more neutralizing antibodies

THURSDAY, June 9, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Moderna announced Wednesday that its updated COVID-19 booster shot does a better job at thwarting the omicron variant than the original version does.

“We are thrilled to share the preliminary data analysis on mRNA-1273.214, which is the second demonstration of superiority of our bivalent booster platform against variants of concern and represents an innovation in the fight against COVID,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a company news release.

“Looking at these data alongside the durability we saw with our first bivalent booster candidate, mRNA-1273.211, we anticipate more durable protection against variants of concern with mRNA-1273.214, making it our lead candidate for a Fall 2022 booster,” Bancel added. “We are submitting our preliminary data and analysis to regulators with the hope that the omicron-containing bivalent booster will be available in the late summer.”

The results on the updated vaccine were impressive: A booster dose combining the original vaccine with the one specifically aimed at omicron led to 1.75 times more neutralizing antibodies against omicron a month after the shot. It is not clear if the updated vaccine will provide more lasting protection than the current one.

Moderna did not release any data from the clinical trial, which included 437 volunteers, on the updated vaccine’s effectiveness against the omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, which now account for 13 percent of new cases in the United States and are spreading quickly.

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