Mon | Oct 18, 2021

Moderna plans booster doses to help fight virus

Published:Thursday | August 5, 2021 | 11:04 AM
In this March 4, 2021, file photo, a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine rests on a table at a drive-up mass vaccination site in Puyallup, Washington, south of Seattle. Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine brought in more than $4 billion in second-quarter sales, Thursday, August 5, pushing the vaccine developer into a profit. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

WASHINGTON — Moderna officials say while its COVID-19 vaccine's protection is holding up, it's planning for booster doses to help fight the highly contagious delta variant.

With “the rising force of infection” from that variant and eventual waning immunity, a “booster will likely be necessary to keep us as safe as possible” this winter, Moderna President Dr Stephen Hoge told investors.

The shots remain 93% effective four-to-six months after the second dose, according to the latest tracking of Moderna's 30,000-person vaccine study, the company reported Thursday.

But that came before the recent surge in delta-caused COVID-19 cases.

Real-world evidence from multiple countries shows protection, especially against hospitalisations and deaths, remains strong against the delta variant.

Hoge says a half-dose of the original vaccine given six-to-eight months after people's second shot may provide a sufficient boost.

He cited a small study showing that triggered increases in antibody levels high enough to fight variants, including delta.

Moderna and competitor Pfizer are studying a variety of booster strategies.

While some countries already have begun offering a third dose to vulnerable groups with weak immune systems, US health authorities haven't called for boosters.

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