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Moderna’s Booster Against Omicron Variant to be Ready by Summer

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 06/13/2022 - 08:20

Biotechnology company Moderna recently announced that its vaccine booster against the Omicron variant might be approved by late summer for adults over 18 years old. Clinical trials have shown a “generally well-tolerated” response for this booster.

"We are thrilled to share the preliminary data analysis on mRNA-1273.214, which is the second demonstration of superiority of our bivalent booster platform against variants of concern and represents an innovation in the fight against COVID-19," said Stéphane Bancel, CEO, Moderna. "Looking at these data alongside the durability we saw with our first bivalent booster candidate, mRNA-1273.211, we anticipate more durable protection against variants of concern with mRNA-1273.214, making it our lead candidate for a Fall 2022 booster,” he added.

Moderna’s official communicate said the preliminary data of its bivalent booster candidate mRNA-1273.214 met all primary endpoints in the Phase 2/3 trial, including neutralizing antibody response against Omicron when compared to a 50 µg booster dose of mRNA-1273 (original vaccine) in baseline seronegative participants.

A second booster shot from the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine had already been authorized for individuals over 50 years old by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This decision aimed to “protect other populations at higher risk for severe disease, hospitalization and death.”

The second booster dose of the Moderna vaccine may be administered at least four months after the first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine to individuals 18 years and older.

Previous studies on mRNA vaccines have found that a fourth vaccine (or second booster shot) is safe and provides a substantial boost to antibody concentrations and cellular immunity when given more than six months after a third dose. The study followed Pfizer’s vaccine but one of the researchers said that Moderna’s vaccine should have a similar response due to its composition.

Mexico has not signed an acquisition contract with Moderna but did receive 6.27 million doses as a donation from the US. These doses were applied as booster shots for teachers and for other adults over 30 years old.

Fourth doses for senior adults are starting to be applied in some states of Mexico such as Yucatan and Jalisco. However, Deputy Minister of Health, Hugo López-Gatell has said that for now, Mexico does not contemplate applying a fourth dose of the vaccine against COVID-19 in a generalized way as part of the vaccination policy.  No statement has been about a booster shot against the Omicron variant.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst