Moderna Shares Spike After Company Says Its Covid Booster Increases Antibody Levels Against Omicron

The company also has plans to continue the development of a booster specifically targeting Omicron, which is expected to enter clinical trials in early 2022.

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By Amanda Breen

As Covid-19 continues to spread at an alarming rate, there is some good news: Moderna's booster appears to be effective against the Omicron variant, the company says, per CNBC.

Despite not being tailored to fight the Omicron variant in particular, the company said its booster can "boost neutralizing antibody levels 37-fold higher than pre-boost levels," adding that such numbers were "reassuring."

Investors appear to think so too, as Moderna shares were up 8.6% in premarket trading at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Moderna's above statement refers to its 50-microgram booster shot, but according to the company, a double dose offers even more protection; preliminary data reveals that a 100-microgram dose increased neutralizing antibody levels "approximately 83-fold," the company said. Those that receive the company's vaccine, called mRNA-1273, without also getting the booster exhibit low neutralizing antibodies and are significantly less protected against the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

The data have not yet been peer reviewed.

Related: J&J's (JNJ) COVID-19 Booster Jab Gets CHMP Recommendation

Moderna also has plans to continue the development of a booster specifically targeting Omicron, which is expected to enter clinical trials in early 2022.

"Moving forward, given the strength of the mRNA-1273 and the speed at which the Omicron variant is spreading, Moderna's first line of defense against Omicron will be a booster dose of mRNA-1273," the company said in its statement. "Given the long-term threat demonstrated by Omicron's immune escape, Moderna will also continue to develop an Omicron-specific variant vaccine (mRNA-1273.529) that it expects to advance into clinical trials in early 2022 and will evaluate including Omicron in its multivalent booster program."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 32% of fully vaccinated adults have received the booster shot; that figure jumps to nearly 44% for those fully vaccinated over 50 and about 54% for those fully vaccinated over 65.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Omicron cases can double every one-and-a-half to three days in areas with community transmission, and, on Sunday, the Netherlands announced a full lockdown that will remain in place until mid-January.

Related: FDA Approves 'Combination' Vaccines for Booster Placement

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and recently completed the MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts during the 2020-2021 academic year. 

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