Moderna says its booster has strong antibody response against Omicron

20 December 2021, 15:46

The Moderna booster jab produces a strong antibody response
The Moderna booster jab produces a strong antibody response. Picture: Alamy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Moderna's coronavirus booster produces a strong antibody response against Omicron, the firm has said.

The 50mcg half-dose booster used in the UK increased by 37 times neutralising antibody levels against the variant.

A 100mcg full dose increased it 83-fold.

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Moderna said the preliminary data was "reassuring", though it will continue to develop a jab specific to Omicron.

A half-dose is recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) for the UK's booster programme.

The JCVI did not recommend a full dose due to the increased risk of side-effects and after a UK study found a half dose still provided very good protection.

The US Food and Drug Administration also recommends that Moderna is given as a half dose booster.

The new data included blood samples from 20 people given a Moderna boost of 50mcg or 100mcg.

The results were analysed at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Vaccine Research Centre at Duke University Medical Centre in the US.

All groups had low neutralising antibody levels to Omicron before receiving a booster and were looked at again 29 days after the booster jab.

Antibodies are not the only part of the immune system to tackle coronavirus.

Experts believe that T cell immunity, which is harder to measure, also plays a key role in preventing severe disease.