Moderna claims that a full dose of the COVID-19 vaccine given as a booster shot provides more antibody protection against the Omicron variant than the currently approved half-strength injections.

The results were reassuring,’ according to Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel, who added that the company is still working on an Omicron-specific vaccine.

Clinical trials for a targeted vaccine are expected to begin in early 2022, according to the statement.

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The Omicron-neutralizing antibodies were measured in blood samples from 40 people who had low levels of these antibodies before receiving the booster.

For protection against COVID-19, it is currently recommended that 100 micrograms of the Moderna jab be given as a first and second dose, followed by a 50-microgram booster.

Antibodies were measured 29 days after booster participants received their third jabs, half of whom received a 50 microgram dose and half of whom received a 100 microgram dose.

According to preliminary data, antibody response to Omicron increased 37-fold at 50 micrograms, but antibody levels increased 83-fold when the dose was doubled.

“Real-world evidence is needed to determine protection against transmission and illness,” experts say.

A real-world study from South Africa published last week found that two shots of a similar mRNA jab from Pfizer/BioNTech provided around 70% protection against severe Omicron disease.

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BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said in an interview published Monday in the French daily Le Monde that after a third injection, the vaccine seemed to provide between 70 and 75 percent protection against any form of the illness.

In March, he added, his company should be able to offer an Omicron-specific vaccine, pending regulatory approval.

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