The Chief Executive Officer of Moderna announced Monday that the company’s COVID-19 booster helps neutralize antibodies against Omicron, the newest and most transmissible variant of the virus.
“The dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases from the Omicron variant is concerning to all. However, these data showing that the currently authorized Moderna COVID-19 booster can boost neutralizing antibody levels 37-fold higher than pre-boost levels are reassuring.” said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna.
Omicron is the result of continuous virus mutation of COVID-19, which has only occurred due to vaccine gaps around the world. First detected by South African health officials, the variant is considered to be very high in its transfer rate but not as severe in its symptoms as the previous Delta variant.
The 50-microgram dose of Moderna’s booster shot currently approved by health officials in the country is recommended to people who have gotten their vaccine shots and developed enough antibodies to safely take the booster. According to the company, a 100-microgram dose of the current booster would help neutralize antibodies by 83 times, against the Omicron variant.
Several different companies are in a race towards making an Omicron-specific booster that would help people get vaccinated against the most recent variant. Bancel also said, “We will also continue to generate and share data across our booster strategies with public health authorities to help them make evidence-based decisions on the best vaccination strategies against SARS-CoV-2.”
Developing countries around the world have severely criticized the patents on vaccines and vaccine research that has resulted in the mutations of the virus we are currently facing. Both Delta and Omicron variants are a result of developing countries not being able to access and manufacture their affordable vaccine so that people around the world could protect themselves equally; instead of richer nations being ahead on their recovery, unlike other nations that are still scrambling to contain the virus.
More than 5.3 million people around the world have died due to COVID-19, with 806,000 of those being Americans. It is time to make vaccine access global if we want to collectively be far away from the pandemic.