Moderna Inc has begun a mid-stage trial to test a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, which is specially tailored to target the Omicron coronavirus strain, just one day after competitor Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) began a similar experiment.
While a third dose of the company’s original coronavirus vaccine raised neutralising antibodies against the variation at the lower dose, their levels fell six months after the booster dose was given, the company reported on Wednesday.
Pfizer and its partner BioNTech started a clinical trial on Tuesday to test a new version of their vaccine specifically tailored to the Omicron variant.
Moderna said it would study its Omicron-specific booster in adults aged 18 years and older.
It promises to share its data from the trial with public health leaders so they can make evidence-based decisions on the best booster strategy against the coronavirus.
Three studies, led by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have shown that a third dose of an mRNA vaccine, such as those from Pfizer and Moderna, is key to fighting the Omicron variant.
Some nations have already begun to offer additional booster doses, however a recent Israeli study found that while a fourth dose of an mRNA vaccine increased antibody levels, they were not high enough to prevent an Omicron infection.