Current vaccines work just as well compared to Omicron-specific booster

February 7, 2022
Current vaccines work just as well compared to Omicron-specific booster

US government researchers have reported on an animal study whose results suggest an Omicron-specific booster on top of the current host of vaccines may not be needed. A study in monkeys vaccinated with two doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, plus a third experimental Moderna booster, produced “significant increases in neutralising antibody responses” against all the virus variants of concern.

The same results were seen with vaccination with an Omicron-specific booster, leading researchers to believe a radical change to the vaccine is not necessary to make it an Omicron vaccine.

In a monkey study, researchers can boost and then infect the animals with the virus and measure the immune response – this cannot be done in human trials, explained Dr. John Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College.

According to study co-lead Daniel Douek, a vaccine researcher at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the original vaccines and the Omicron-specific vaccines are both “cross-reactive” i.e., the vaccines are able to recognise lots of different variants to mount an immune response.

Despite this recent development, pharmaceutical giants Moderna and BioNTech-Pfizer will continue testing Omicron-specific boosters of their vaccines in human clinical trials.

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