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Moderna (MRNA) COVID-19 Booster Jab Effective Against Omicron

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Moderna (MRNA - Free Report) announced preliminary data from a pseudovirus neutralization titer assay (PsVNT) study, which demonstrated that the authorized booster of its COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273, increased neutralizing antibody levels significantly against the Omicron variant. The significant increase in antibody levels against the Omicron variant was achieved following vaccination with the company’s multivalent booster candidates.

The PsVNT study evaluated two doses — 50 micrograms and 100 micrograms — of the company’s authorized COVID-19 booster jab and multivalent booster candidates in sera of participants who have been previously vaccinated with mRNA-1273 or multivalent vaccine candidates.

The 50-microgram dose of the boosters, authorized or under development, increased neutralizing antibody levels against Omicron approximately 37-fold at day 29 compared to the pre-boost levels. The higher dose increased the same antibody levels by 83-fold.

Data from a phase II study demonstrated that immunization with the 50 microgram booster dose induced a more than 40-fold increase in antibody responses against the Delta variant.

Moderna is evaluating its multivalent booster and variant-specific booster candidates in phase II/III studies. However, the company continues to develop an Omicron-specific booster candidate in case it becomes necessary going forward amid rising infection cases due to Omicron. The Omicron-specific booster candidate will enter clinical study in early 2022.

This year so far, Moderna’s shares have gained 164.6% against a decrease of 19% for the industry.

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Earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) recommended the use of Pfizer (PFE - Free Report) and BioNTech’s (BNTX - Free Report) Comirnaty and Moderna’s mRNA-1273 over J&J’s (JNJ - Free Report) single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC stated that J&J’s vaccine or its booster dose should be used only when mRNA-based vaccines are contraindicated for a person or are inaccessible.

The recommendation, preferring Pfizer and BioNTech’s Comirnaty or Moderna’s mRNA-1273 over J&J’s vaccine, was based on discussions of the latest evidence on vaccine effectiveness, vaccine safety and rare adverse events as well as the available supply of vaccines in the United States.

Data reviewed by the CDC demonstrated that the administration of the adenovirus-based COVID-19 vaccine like that ofJ&J could lead to a higher risk of fatal side effects, including rare cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome and even deaths compared to mRNA-based vaccines including Pfizer and BioNTech’s Comirnaty or Moderna’s mRNA-1273.

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Moderna currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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