Covid-19: Moderna has started trials of a specific vaccine booster against Omicron

A vial of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, in Los Angeles, California, on December 15, 2021.

The American company Moderna announced on Wednesday, January 26, that it had started clinical trials of a booster dose of a vaccine specifically designed against the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.

A total of 600 adults will participate in these trials, half of whom have already received two doses of the Moderna vaccine against Covid-19 at least six months ago, and the other half have received not only these two initial doses but in addition, there are at least three months of age, the booster dose already authorized. Therefore, the specific boost against Omicron will be evaluated as a third or fourth dose.

The company also reported results on the effectiveness of the recall already authorized against Omicron. According to the company, six months after the booster injection, levels of neutralizing antibodies against Omicron were reduced six-fold from the peak seen twenty-nine days after the sting, but remained detectable in all participants. These data were obtained by studying the blood of 20 people who received the 50 microgram booster dose (half of the first two injections).

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“We are reassured by the persistence of antibodies against Omicron six months after the currently authorized recall,” Stéphane Bancel, head of Moderna, said in a press release. However, given the long-term threat posed by Omicron’s immune evasion, we are moving forward with the withdrawal of our Omicron-specific vaccine candidate. »

A drop in cases in several countries

The Pfizer-BioNTech alliance also announced this week that it has started trials to test its own specific vaccine against Omicron. But Pfizer is evaluating its formula not only as a booster, but also for the initial round of injections, in previously unvaccinated people.

These two vaccines are based on messenger RNA technology, which makes it possible, in particular, to be able to update them relatively easily to follow the evolution of the specific mutations of the new variants.

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Several countries, including the United States, have begun to see a drop in cases due to the wave caused by Omicron, the most transmissible variant detected at this stage, but the number of contaminations worldwide continues to increase.

The world with AFP

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