Moderna Releases New Vaccine Data Concerning Omicron Variant

Moderna’s vaccine is weaker against the Omicron variant, but boosters can increase neutralizing antibody levels by as much as 83-fold.

Moderna released new data on Dec. 20, 2021, detailing the efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine against the novel Omicron variant. Similar to the data released by Pfizer earlier this month, Moderna’s two-dose regimen had relatively low levels of neutralizing antibodies effective against the Omicron variant. However, the currently authorized 50 µg booster shot increased neutralizing antibody levels approximately 37-fold, while a 100 µg dose increased them approximately 83-fold.

According to a company press release, the data set included 20 booster recipients each of mRNA-1273 at the 50 µg and 100 µg dose levels, multivalent candidate mRNA-1273.211 at the 50 µg and 100 µg dose levels, and multivalent candidate mRNA-1273.213 at the 100 µg dose level. All groups had low neutralizing antibody levels in the Omicron PsVNT assay prior to boosting.

At day 29 post-boost, the authorized 50 µg booster of mRNA-1273 increased neutralizing geometric mean titers (GMT) levels against Omicron to 850, approximately 37-fold higher than pre-boost levels. At this same interval, the 100 µg dose booster of mRNA-1273 increased the neutralizing GMT levels to 2228, which is approximately 83-fold higher than pre-boost levels. The multivalent candidates boosted Omicron specific neutralizing antibody levels to similarly high levels at both the 50 µg and 100 µg levels.

“The dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases from the Omicron variant is concerning to all. However, these data showing that the currently authorized Moderna COVID-19 booster can boost neutralizing antibody levels 37-fold higher than pre-boost levels are reassuring,” said Stéphane Bancel, CEO, Moderna, in the press release. “To respond to this highly transmissible variant, Moderna will continue to rapidly advance an Omicron-specific booster candidate into clinical testing in case it becomes necessary in the future. We will also continue to generate and share data across our booster strategies with public health authorities to help them make evidence-based decisions on the best vaccination strategies against SARS-CoV-2.”

In the release, Moderna also announced that they will continue developing their Omicron-specific booster candidate, mRNA-1273.529. The company expects it to advance into clinical trials in early 2022.

Source: Moderna