Antibody level Moderna: Boosters significantly increase protection against Omikron

Berlin · The results are not yet official. But Moderna expects a significantly higher protection against the Omikron variant through the booster vaccination, according to a new study.

 Two trays with booster vaccine from Moderna (top) and the normal vaccine from Biontech/Pfizer.

Two trays with booster vaccine from Moderna (top) and the normal vaccine from Biontech/Pfizer.

Foto: dpa/Frank Rumpenhorst

A booster dose with Moderna's vaccine significantly increases the body's immune defence against the new Corona variant Omikron, according to the manufacturer.

Compared to a two-dose vaccination, the neutralising antibody level increased about 37-fold after a booster with the approved dosage, the US company said in a press release on Monday. The researchers had analysed the antibody level in the laboratory 29 days after the booster vaccination.

For most people, a dose of 50 micrograms (millionths of a gram) is approved for boosters, which is only half as much as for the first and second vaccination. With a booster of 100 micrograms, the neutralising antibody level in the trial actually increased 83-fold over the same period, Moderna writes. The data, in which 20 people were studied per dose, have not yet been published in a scientific journal. For immunodeficient people, 100 micrograms of the vaccine are approved for boosting.

New omicron boosters in development

There is no data yet on how long the effect lasts after boosting with Moderna's mRNA-1273 vaccine. The company is already working on the development of an Omikron-specific booster candidate.

To study the effect of a vaccine against a viral variant, researchers usually do so-called neutralisation tests. They look to see how many antibodies a vaccinated person has in their blood that can bind to a - usually artificially produced - viral variant and thus eliminate it. However, the actual protection of vaccinated persons cannot be determined in this way; for this, clinical studies with thousands of test persons or evaluations of the ongoing infection process are needed.

The vaccine manufacturers BioNTech and Pfizer had previously stated that three doses of their product were needed for sufficient protection against the Omikron variant. According to initial laboratory data, two doses did not provide sufficient protection against infection with this variant. However, the companies assumed that the protection against a severe disease was still given. Last week, Moderna had published a study showing that four weeks after the second dose, vaccinated people had significantly fewer neutralising antibodies in their blood against Omikron than against certain earlier variants.

Original text: dpa

Translation: Mareike Graepel

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