Moderna booster gives good protection against Omicron variant, says company

·2-min read
Medical staff and volunteers prepare shots of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Ramsgate, Kent (Leon Neal/PA) (PA Wire)
Medical staff and volunteers prepare shots of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Ramsgate, Kent (Leon Neal/PA) (PA Wire)

Moderna has said a booster dose of its vaccine appears to be protective against Omicron after lab tests.

The pharmaceutical company said on Monday its current version of its vaccine would be its “first line of defence” against Omicron but that it would still work to develop a vaccine specifically to protect against the variant.

Moderna’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Paul Burton said in an interview: "It’s highly effective, and it’s extremely safe.

“I think it will protect people through the coming holiday period and through these winter months, when we’re going to see the most severe pressure of Omicron."

The company said while a two-dose course generated low protection, a 50mg booster dose increased antibodies 37 fold.

This is the dose recommended by the JCVI for the UK’s booster programme.

A high 100mg booster drove antibody levels by up to 80 times, according to the preliminary data.

The data, which has not yet been peer reviewed, tested blood from people who had received the vaccine against a pseudovirus engineered to resemble the Omicron variant.

Mr Burton said it would be up to regulators to gauge whether they want the enhanced level of protection that a 100 microgram dose might confer.

Boosters given in the UK tend to be either Pfizer or Moderna jabs as these are thought to best boost the immune system against the new variant.

More than 28 million booster or third doses had been given out in the UK as of Saturday, as the NHS aims to offer all adults a booster dose by the end of the month.

Ministers hope a widespread roll-out of the booster campaign will lessen the potential impacts of a wave of Omicron cases.

However on Monday, speculation was rife about more restrictions being introduced in England to tackle the surge.

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