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Moderna (MRNA) Starts Study for Omicron-Specific Booster Jab

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Moderna, Inc. (MRNA - Free Report) announced that the first participant in a phase II study on its Omicron specific COVID-19 booster candidate has been dosed.

The phase II study will evaluate the Omicron specific COVID-19 booster candidate (mRNA-1273.529) across two cohorts. Each cohort will enroll 300 participants.

The first cohort (cohort 1) will evaluate the candidate in patients who have already completed the two-dose regimen of Moderna’s COVID vaccine at least six months back.

The second cohort (cohort-2) will evaluate mRNA-1273.529 in patients who have not only completed the two-dose regimen of the company’s COVID vaccine but also received the booster dose of its COVID vaccine at least three months ago.

Moderna states that while the three doses of its COVID vaccine increase neutralizing titers against the Omicronvariant, the antibody levels decline after a six-month period following dosing with a third shot (50 microgram). Moderna also announced neutralizing antibody data against the Omicron variant, which showed that the neutralizing titers against OMICRON declined six months after the third 50 µg dose of Moderna was given.

Moderna reported that 29 days following administration of a booster dose, the neutralizing antibodies declined 6.3-fold from peak levels, quicker than the 2.3-fold decline seen against the ancestral strain of the virus during the same period. The neutralizing antibodies remained detectable in all participants dosed with a booster shot of Moderna’s COVID vaccine, even after the decline in neutralization titers. The data was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

In the trailing 12 months, shares of Moderna have fallen 2.9% in comparison with the industry’s 39% decline.

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Please note Pfizer (PFE - Free Report) and partner BioNTech (BNTX - Free Report) recently started clinical studies on their Omicron-specific COVID vaccine candidate in adult participants aged between 18 years and 55 years.

Pfizer/BioNTech will evaluate their Omicron-based vaccine candidate across three cohorts. Cohort #1 will evaluate the vaccine in participants who completed the primary two-dose regimen of Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID vaccine. Cohort #2 will evaluate the candidate in participants who have received three doses of its COVID vaccine, including the booster dose.

Cohort #3 will evaluate the Omicron-based vaccine in patients who have not received any COVID vaccine. These patients will receive three doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s Omicron-specific vaccine.

Moderna, Inc. Price

Moderna, Inc. Price

Moderna, Inc. price | Moderna, Inc. Quote

Zacks Rank & Stock to Consider

Moderna currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock in the biotech sector is Alkermes (ALKS - Free Report) , which carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Alkermes’ earnings per share estimates for 2022 have increased from $0.70 to $0.71 in the past 60 days. Shares of Alkermes have risen 18% in the past year.

Earnings of Alkermes beat estimates in all the last four quarters, delivering a surprise of 147%, on average.

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