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On Wednesday, pharmaceutical giant Moderna announced that its experimental COVID-19 vaccine that combines its original shot with protection against the omicron variant appears to work wonders.

Moderna’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine that combines its original shot with protection against the omicron variant appears to work, according to the latest announcement by the company. Moderna’s preliminary study results show people given the combination shot experienced a higher boost in omicron-fighting antibodies than if they just got a fourth dose of the original vaccine.

Source: LA Times (Elise Amendola / Associated Press)

“We believe strongly that this data supports an update of the vaccine,” Dr. Stephen Hoge, Moderna’s president, said Wednesday.

Moderna’s new study tested people who’d had three prior vaccinations, giving 377 of them a fourth dose of the original vaccine and another 437 the combo shot.

The study wasn’t designed to track how well the updated booster prevented COVID-19 cases and it was tested only against omicron, not the variants dominant now. But the bivalent vaccine sparked a nearly eight-fold rise in levels of antibodies capable of fighting omicron. Importantly, that was 1.75 times better than the antibody jump from simply giving a fourth dose of the original vaccine, Moderna said.

The data hasn’t undergone scientific review, and these initial measurements were taken a month after booster shots. Antibodies naturally wane so it’s not clear how long that protection could last. Moderna plans to track the levels at three and six months but already is manufacturing doses to be ready if regulators in the U.S. or elsewhere order a change for fall shots.

 

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Rhea Sovani

Author Rhea Sovani

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