Moderna released data Wednesday showing its newest combination COVID-19 vaccine protects against the highly transmissible omicron variant and called the vaccine its “lead candidate” for a booster this fall. The new booster, called mRNA-1273.214, combines the company’s original vaccine with one designed to target the omicron variant. Results from a trial involving 437 people showed the combination booster was more protective against omicron and earlier variants compared with the original vaccine.
In April, the company announced results showing another combination booster candidate targeting the beta variant protected well against a range of coronavirus variants, including the beta, delta, and omicron variants.
Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel appeared to favor the omicron-targeting combination booster in a company statement released Wednesday.
“Looking at these data alongside the durability we saw with our first bivalent booster candidate … we anticipate more durable protection against variants of concern with mRNA-1273.214, making it our lead candidate for a fall 2022 booster,” he said.
The company said volunteers who received the experimental booster produced 1.75 times the level of antibodies one month after the shot compared with the original booster dose.
Like the original booster dose, the combination booster is given at a 50 microgram dose and has similar side effects, according to the company release.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech announced earlier this year that they also are studying an omicron-targeted vaccine for healthy adults ages 18 through 55.
On June 28, an advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration will meet to discuss COVID-19 boosters for the fall, including whether the original vaccines should be changed to target circulating variants.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID vaccine: Moderna omicron booster safe and effective, study says.