Moderna stock jumped 8% in premarket trading on Monday after the business announced that trials have shown that its booster boosts anti-Omicron antibodies by at least 37 times.
The company examined its booster candidates at 50 and 100 mg doses, with the latter demonstrating an 83-fold increase in neutralizing antibody levels above pre-boost levels. Moderna had already recognized that the vaccine's standard 2-dose regimen was ineffective against the Omicron variation compared to the then-dominant Delta version.
Moderna said in a release that booster candidates are being investigated in ongoing phase 2/3 studies with 300-600 individuals each arm.
Moderna says that while a booster of its mRNA-1273 vaccination will be its first line of defense against Omicron, it will also continue to develop an Omicron-specific variant vaccine, which it expects to enter human trials early next year. It will also consider including omicron into its multivalent booster program, according to the company.
Omicron, which is currently found in over 80 nations, has taken over the Delta variation in many of them. Omicron has spread far faster than Delta, hastening the return of lockdowns and other restrictions in European countries.
Over 90,000 new cases have been reported in the United Kingdom alone in the previous two days. While there are signs that Omicron is less likely than Delta to cause serious infection - hospital admissions in the United Kingdom have not increased in lockstep with case numbers - health experts are concerned that its greater infectiousness could overwhelm public health systems, while businesses fear that infected people will be forced to self-isolate, resulting in acute staff shortages.