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Moderna's booster still protects against omicron after 6 months, but antibodies wane faster than for original COVID-19

A study shows antibody protection against omicron was six times lower than peak levels after the booster six months after the shot.

DURHAM, N.C. — New findings indicate Moderna's booster still protects against the omicron variant after six months, but that protection might not be as high as it would be against the original wild-type COVID-19.

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The report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that peak levels of protection happened around one month after the third dose. Five months after that peak, neutralizing antibodies against omicron were 6.3 times lower. They were 2.3 times lower against wild-type coronavirus.

The good news, researchers indicated, is antibodies were still detectable, and that a booster is likely critical to avoiding a breakthrough infection.

The report states Moderna's booster lifted antibody levels against the omicron variant 20 times higher than a second dose of vaccine, and may "substantially reduce the risk of breakthrough infection."

However, the findings do shed more light on why Moderna is taking aim at an omicron-specific COVID-19 booster.

Wednesday, the company announced it had dosed its first participant in a Phase Two study of that omicron-targeting shot, citing omicron's ability to evade its current vaccine over the long-term.

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