Amid Omicron variant threat, Moderna on Monday said that its booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine appeared to be protective against the fast-spreading Omicron variant in laboratory testing. According to Reuters, Moderna said that the current version of the vaccine would continue to be its "first line of defense against Omicron."
In a release, Moderna however said that double doze of the booster shot — 100 micrograms, rather than the approved 50 micrograms — was significantly more effective. According to preliminary data, a 100 microgram booster dose increased neutralizing antibody levels “approximately 83-fold.”
The 100 microgram dose of its booster shot was “generally safe and well tolerated,” Moderna said, though “there was a trend toward slightly more frequent adverse reactions following the 100 [microgram] booster dose relative to the authorized 50 [microgram] dose.”
The decision to focus on its current Covid-19 booster, rather than immediately developing a variant-specific vaccine, was because of both the speed of omicron’s spread and its confidence in its current offering, the company said.
In a statement, the company further said, “moving forward, given the strength of the mRNA-1273 and the speed at which the Omicron variant is spreading, Moderna’s first line of defense against Omicron will be a booster dose of mRNA-1273."
The news comes as the World Health Organization warns omicron cases can double every 1.5 to 3 days in areas of local spread.
The U.K. recorded its highest daily case levels since the start of the pandemic in the last week, and the Netherlands imposed a strict full lockdown on Sunday extending past the new year.
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