AP

Moderna says updated COVID shot boosts omicron protection

Jun 8, 2022, 4:06 AM | Updated: Jun 9, 2022, 12:26 pm

Moderna’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine that combines its original shot with protection against the omicron variant appears to work, the company announced Wednesday.

COVID-19 vaccine makers are studying updated boosters that might be offered in the fall to better protect people against future coronavirus surges.

Moderna’s preliminary study results show people given the combination shot experienced a higher boost in omicron-fighting antibodies than if they just got a fourth dose of the original vaccine.

“We believe strongly that this data supports an update of the vaccine,” Dr. Stephen Hoge, Moderna’s president, said Wednesday.

Today’s COVID-19 vaccines all are based on the original version of the coronavirus. They’re still providing strong protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death even after the appearance of the super-contagious omicron variant — especially if people have had an initial booster dose.

But the virus continues to mutate rapidly in ways that let it evade some of the vaccines’ protections and cause milder infections.

So U.S. regulators, and the World Health Organization, are considering whether to order a change in the vaccine recipe for a new round of booster shots in the fall — when cold weather and kids returning to school are expected to drive yet another surge.

Key questions: How to make that change without losing the continued strong protection against COVID-19’s worst outcomes? And what’s the right variant to target? After the huge winter omicron surge, that mutant’s genetically distinct relatives now are the main threats, including one that’s fueling the current U.S. wave of infections.

The Food and Drug Administration has set a meeting in late June for its scientific advisers to debate those questions and evaluate data from vaccine makers’ tests of potential new formulas. Pfizer also is studying a combination shot, what scientists call a bivalent vaccine, with some data expected later this month.

Moderna’s new study tested people who’d had three prior vaccinations, giving 377 of them a fourth dose of the original vaccine and another 437 the combo shot.

The study wasn’t designed to track how well the updated booster prevented COVID-19 cases and it was tested only against omicron, not the variants dominant now. But the bivalent vaccine sparked a nearly eight-fold rise in levels of antibodies capable of fighting omicron. Importantly, that was 1.75 times better than the antibody jump from simply giving a fourth dose of the original vaccine, Moderna said.

The data hasn’t undergone scientific review, and these initial measurements were taken a month after booster shots. Antibodies naturally wane so it’s not clear how long that protection could last. Moderna plans to track the levels at three and six months but already is manufacturing doses to be ready if regulators in the U.S. or elsewhere order a change for fall shots.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday...

Associated Press

Some in Houston facing no power for weeks after storms cause widespread damage, killing at least 4

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday, May 17. Thunderstorms hit the southeastern part of Texas, killing at least four people.

7 hours ago

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer...

Associated Press

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer

A man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for attacking the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a hammer.

7 hours ago

audio from President Joe Biden’s interview about classified documents blocked...

Associated Press

GOP advances Garland contempt charges after White House exerts executive privilege over Biden audio

The move to release audio from President Joe Biden’s interview about classified documents was blocked on Thursday by the White House.

1 day ago

Asylum processing for new migrants: Changes could come soon...

Associated Press

The Biden administration is planning more changes to quicken asylum processing for new migrants

The Biden administration is planning to quicken the asylum processing for new migrants as an interim step rather than an executive order.

2 days ago

Record-setting rally for U.S. stocks reflects inflation slowing down...

Associated Press

Stock market today: Asian shares advance after another round of Wall St records

The S&P 500 jumped 1.2% to top its prior high set a month and a half ago. This move reflects a record-setting rally for U.S. stocks.

2 days ago

This combo image shows President Joe Biden, left, Jan. 5, 2024, and Republican presidential candida...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump agree to hold presidential debates in June and in September

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have agreed to hold two campaign debates, on June 27 hosted by CNN and on Sept. 10 hosted by ABC.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Moderna says updated COVID shot boosts omicron protection