Health

Omicron: Moderna jab boosts neutralising antibodies against variant, study finds


A dose of the Moderna vaccine used in the UK’s booster programme increases neutralising antibodies against Omicron around 37-fold, the firm has announced.

Moderna said its preliminary data looking at Omicron was “reassuring”, though it will continue to develop a jab specific to the variant.

The data showed that 50mcg of the Moderna vaccine (the half-dose recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation for the UK’s booster programme) increased neutralising antibody levels against Omicron approximately 37-fold compared to pre-boost levels, while a full dose increased it 83-fold.

READ MORE: Pfizer jab protects 70% against hospital admission for Omicron

The JCVI in the UK 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.

(PA Graphics)(PA Graphics)

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, with the results analysed at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ (NIAID) Vaccine Research Centre at Duke University Medical Centre.

READ MORE: New Covid symptom that could be affecting your sleep

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.





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