Moderna outlines new strategies to fight Omicron variant

Published December 1, 2021, 12:32 PM

by Jaleen Ramos

US vaccine manufacturer Moderna Inc. announced new strategies to address the potential threat of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron.

(AFP/MANILA BULLETIN)

In a statement on Friday, the pharmaceutical company said it has outlined three lines of defense to address the new strain should the existing vaccines are proven to be ineffective.

“From the beginning, we have said that as we seek to defeat the pandemic, it is imperative that we are proactive as the virus evolves. The mutations in the Omicron variant are concerning and for several days, we have been moving as fast as possible to execute our strategy to address this variant,” said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna.

“The combination of mutations represents a significant potential risk to accelerate the waning of natural and vaccine-induced immunity. A booster dose of an authorized vaccine represents the only currently available strategy for boosting waning immunity,” he added.

First, the company said it has already tested at least 306 healthy adults with a 100 µg booster dose of mRNA-1273.

“The 100 µg dose of mRNA-1273 has also recently been studied by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the U.S. and has generally resulted in the highest neutralizing titers against prior SARS-CoV-2 strains,” it stated.

“Moderna is working to rapidly test sera from its high dose booster recipients in neutralizing assays to determine if the 100 µg dose provides superior neutralizing protection against Omicron,” the company added.

Second, it is also already studying two multi-valent booster candidates to anticipate mutations such as those that have emerged in the Omicron variant.

Lastly, Moderna is also working to rapidly advance an Omicron-specific booster candidate (mRNA-1273.529).

The Omicron variant was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) in southern Africa and has already rapidly spread to other countries, prompting many to shut their borders.

 
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