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Moderna’s Omicron shots better against virus than original jab

This photo shows a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, Bivalent, at AltaMed Medical clinic in Los Angeles, California, on Oct 6, 2022. (RINGO CHIU / AFP)

MOSCOW – Moderna Inc said on Monday its Omicron-tailored vaccines produced a better immune response against the BA.4/5 sub variants in a mid-to-late stage study, when given as a booster dose, compared with its original shot.

Data shows that both of Moderna's Omicron-tailored shots, mRNA-1273.214 and mRNA-1273.222, produced a higher antibody response against BA.4/5 sub variants than its original shot in vaccinated and boosted adults, the company said.

READ MORE: BioNTech says to set up mRNA vaccine facility in Singapore

Moderna, however, said levels of neutralizing antibody response dropped nearly 5-fold against the emerging subvariant BQ.1.1 when compared with BA.4/5, in an analysis of about 40 participants, although the virus neutralizing activity still remained "robust".

Rival Pfizer Inc and its German partner, BioNTech SE , said earlier this month their Omicron-tailored shot targeting the BA.4/5 sub variants produced a strong antibody response in older adults than the original shot after one month.

READ MORE: Canada approves 2nd new COVID booster for Omicron

Based on data from preclinical studies, Omicron-tailored shots made by Moderna and Pfizer have already been approved in the United States for adults as well as for children as young as five years. According to government data, nearly 31.4 million Americans had received the updated shot as of Nov 9, with around 5.1 million getting vaccinated last week.

People walk in an underground in St Petersburg, Russia, Jan 21, 2022. (DMITRI LOVETSKY / AP)

Russia

Russia registered 4,578 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 21,504,530, said the official monitoring and response center on Monday.

The center said the nationwide death toll increased by 61 to 391,085, while the number of recoveries grew by 4,460 to 20,905,977.

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Meanwhile, Moscow reported 635 new cases, taking its total to 3,241,641.