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Can the Moderna COVID booster shot defeat the omicron variant?

Moderna said it will still develop a new shot to fight off the omicron variant

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Worker uses Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

A worker readies syringes with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Metairie, La. Moderna’s COVID-19 booster shot appears to offer protection against the omicron variant, according to the company.

Gerald Herbert, Associated Press

Moderna’s COVID-19 booster shot appears to offer protection against the omicron variant, according to the company.

Moderna said Monday that early lab test data shows the current COVID-19 booster shot led to increased antibody levels, which helped neutralize the virus.

  • The company said two shots of the booster dose provided even more support.

Overall, Moderna said that its first booster shot — which is 50 micrograms of the vaccine — increased antibodies against omicron 37-fold compared to before the booster shot.

  • However, the company said a 100 microgram dose could increase antibody levels by 83-fold.

Moderna chief executive officer Stéphane Bancel said this is good news amid the surge of cases, according to NBC News.

  • “The dramatic increase in Covid-19 cases from the omicron variant is concerning to all. However, these data ... are reassuring,” Bancel said.
  • He added: “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.”

A recent study suggested that two doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine may be less effective against the omicron variant, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • The study reviewed 30 blood samples from patients who received two doses of the Moderna vaccine.
  • Researchers tested those samples against a pseudovirus version of the omicron virus, per The Hill.
  • Scientists found antibody levels dropped by 50% against omicron.

Experts have maintained that getting fully vaccinated and adding a booster shot can keep you well protected against COVID-19 and any COVID-19 variants out there right now.