Moderna announced that a new study from researchers at Duke University shows that its COVID-19 booster continues to provide protection against the coronavirus after six months. The pharmaceutical company said that while there was a six-fold drop in antibody levels, the vaccine remained durable against the Omicron variant, which makes up nearly all of the COVID-19 cases in the United States.
"The drop in antibodies for the booster is very similar to the drop in antibodies to the Delta variant that was noted six months after the second dose of the vaccine," said co-corresponding author David Montefiori of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute in Durham, N.C.
The company also announced it has started clinical trials for an Omicron-specific vaccine.
"We are reassured by the antibody persistence against Omicron at six months after the currently authorized 50 μg booster of mRNA-1273. Nonetheless, given the long-term threat demonstrated by Omicron's immune escape, we are advancing our Omicron-specific variant vaccine booster candidate, and we are pleased to begin this part of our Phase 2 study," Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a news release. "We are also evaluating whether to include this Omicron-specific candidate in our multivalent booster program."
Earlier in the week, Pfizer also announced it had started clinical trials for a vaccine designed to protect against the Omicron variant.