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As the Omicron variant begins to sweep across the U.S., The Centers for Disease Control and White House officials are urging Americans to get their booster shots.  If you’re a recipient of the Moderna vaccine, in particular, new data suggests that a booster of the Moderna vaccine drastically raises the level of antibodies needed to fight off the highly transmissible variant.

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The drug company announced that its standard dose of 50-micrograms of the preventative shot increased antibody levels roughly by 37-fold, The New York Times reported. A full dose of 100-micrograms was found to be even more powerful, with antibody levels jumping to around 83-fold compared to “pre-boost levels”, the publication noted. Recipients of both boosters also complained of similar symptoms including fever, headache, fatigue, and pain at the injection site. However, with the dose of 100 micrograms, in particular, the study found that people had more “adverse reactions” than with the 50-microgram dose.

“To respond to this highly transmissible variant, Moderna will continue to rapidly advance an Omicron-specific booster candidate into clinical testing in case it becomes necessary in the future,” said Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s chief executive officer.

To gather their findings, Moderna tested several versions of the vaccine on a group of 20 people. Prior to receiving their third jab, all the participants exhibited low levels of antibodies against the Omicron variant. After they received their third shot of the 500-microgram and the 100-microgram dose, studies found that both vaccines sharply increased their antibody levels. Additionally, the company also trialed a “multivalent” booster shot that contained some of the mutations found in both the Delta and the Beta variant of the virus. The 50-microgram and 100-microgram doses of the multivalent boosters also increased anti-body levels.

While there have been a record number of breakthrough cases despite folks receiving all three live-saving shots, getting vaccinated is still crucial to preventing hospitalization against aggressive variants like Omicron and Delta. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Omicron now makes up nearly 3 percent of coronavirus cases nationally, while the Delta variant, now accounts for more than 83 percent of cases in the U.S.

Earlier this month, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their vaccine also showed a strong impact in preventing hospitalization from the Omicron variant and other strains of the virus. The company said that recipients who received a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine increased their antibody levels 25-fold, according to their website.


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