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COVID-19: Moderna booster shots appear to increase immunity

Published on 06/05/21 at 09:17am
Moderna building

Moderna’s mRNA booster jabs for people already vaccinated against COVID-19 have shown positive initial data in a Phase II study assessing the volume of antibody responses against the virus.

The trial showed that a single 50 microgram (µg) dose of either of Moderna’s mRNA-1273 or mRNA-1273.351 vaccines increased the neutralising antibody response against the pre-existing variants of COVID, along with the South African and Brazilian variants, according to the number of neutralising antibody titers found.

The Phase II trial found that 37 of 40 participants who had already received their initial vaccinations still had a high antibody response against wild-type (ancestral) COVID-19, but only half of participants had a high response to the South African and Brazilian strains.

It was found that, two weeks after receiving the booster shot, all participants had a higher number of titers against all variants, including wild-type, indicating a higher degree of immunity.

It was also discovered that mRNA-1273.351 appeared to be more effective at increasing neutralisation titers against the South African variant, as compared to mRNA-1273.

Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, said: “As we seek to defeat the ongoing pandemic, we remain committed to being proactive as the virus evolves. We are encouraged by these new data, which reinforce our confidence that our booster strategy should be protective against these newly detected variants. The strong and rapid boost in titers to levels above primary vaccination also clearly demonstrates the ability of mRNA-1273 to induce immune memory.

“Our mRNA platform allows for rapid design of vaccine candidates that incorporate key virus mutations, potentially allowing for faster development of future alternative variant-matched vaccines should they be needed.”

Moderna are continuing to evaluate additional data, including an evaluation of its mRNA-1273.211 booster candidate, which combines the two other jab types into a single vaccine.

Jack Goddard

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