Moderna says updated COVID shot boosts omicron protection - Albuquerque Journal

Moderna says updated COVID shot boosts omicron protection

Moderna’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine that combines its original shot with protection against the omicron variant appears to work, the company announced Wednesday.

COVID-19 vaccine makers are studying updated boosters that might be offered in the fall to better protect people against future coronavirus surges.

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.

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

Today’s COVID-19 vaccines all are based on the original version of the coronavirus. They’re still providing strong protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death even after the appearance of the super-contagious omicron variant — especially if people have had an initial booster dose.

But the virus continues to mutate rapidly in ways that let it evade some of the vaccines’ protections and cause milder infections.

So U.S. regulators, and the World Health Organization, are considering whether to order a change in the vaccine recipe for a new round of booster shots in the fall — when cold weather and kids returning to school are expected to drive yet another surge.

Key questions: How to make that change without losing the continued strong protection against COVID-19’s worst outcomes? And what’s the right variant to target? After the huge winter omicron surge, that mutant’s genetically distinct relatives now are the main threats, including one that’s fueling the current U.S. wave of infections.

The Food and Drug Administration has set a meeting in late June for its scientific advisers to debate those questions and evaluate data from vaccine makers’ tests of potential new formulas. Pfizer also is studying a combination shot, what scientists call a bivalent vaccine, with some data expected later this month.

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.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Home » Business » Health & Safety » Moderna says updated COVID shot boosts omicron protection


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Virus cluster at nightclub sets off new Beijing clampdown
Health & Safety
China's capital has put school back ... China's capital has put school back online in one of its major districts amid a new COVID-19 outbreak linked to a nightclub, while life ...
2
Officials: Millions of COVID-19 shots ordered for youngest
Health & Safety
Millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses have ... Millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses have been ordered for small children in anticipation of possible federal authorization next week, White House officials say. The ...
3
Moderna says updated COVID shot boosts omicron protection
Health & Safety
Moderna's experimental COVID-19 vaccine that combines ... Moderna's experimental COVID-19 vaccine that combines its original shot with protection against the omicron variant appears to work, the company announced Wednesday. COVID-19 vaccine ...
4
African scientists baffled by monkeypox cases in Europe, US
Health & Safety
Scientists who have monitored numerous outbreaks ... Scientists who have monitored numerous outbreaks of monkeypox in Africa say they are baffled by the disease's recent spread in Europe and North America. ...
5
2 New Mexico tribes closer to recreational cannabis sales
ABQnews Seeker
Two New Mexico tribes have signed ... Two New Mexico tribes have signed an agreement with state officials recognizing the tribe's authority to collect taxes on sales of cannabis products. The ...
6
A third of US should be considering masks, officials ...
ABQnews Seeker
COVID-19 cases are increasing in the ... COVID-19 cases are increasing in the United States -- and could get even worse over the coming months, federal health officials warned Wednesday in ...
7
A million empty spaces: Chronicling COVID's cruel US toll
Health & Safety
On the deadliest day of a ... On the deadliest day of a horrific week in April 2020, COVID took the lives of 816 people in New York City alone. Lost ...
8
Report: Trump officials, meat companies knew workers at risk
Health & Safety
During the first year of the ... During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the meat processing industry worked closely with political appointees in the Trump administration to stave off ...
9
EU plan aims to help get wheat from Ukraine ...
Health & Safety
The European Commission proposed helping Ukraine ... The European Commission proposed helping Ukraine export its wheat and other grains by rail, road and river to get around a Russian blockade of ...