The United States-based drug company Moderna has developed a vaccine that specifically targets the omicron variant of coronavirus and announced that they are set to begin their trial, right after the announcement of Pfizer’s announcement about the trial of their vaccination.
Right now, omicron counts nearly 99.9% of infection of covid-19 in the United States and the delta variant makes up the remaining 0.1%.
Moderna Begins Its Trials On Omicron-specific Vaccines
Moderna announced that they may begin their trails with around 600 people and study can take place at 24 different sites around the United States.
The study would be conducted with people above the age of 18. People involved in the study would have taken two doses of the Moderna vaccine and some of them would have received booster doses.
Three major studies released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the third dose of vaccination is necessary to fight the virus effectively. Moderna said that they will share their results with health leaders to make an evidence-based decision to choose the vaccine which is highly effective against omicron.
The third vaccine is found to increase the antibodies that fight omicron by 60-fold but after 6 months it is found to reduce to just 6-fold. People who received the booster dose have strong resistance against covid but the rate of antibodies decline faster with omicron compared to other variants.
But there are limitations to these studies as they included only certain people and regions, it is still unsure of how vaccines and booster doses work in different regions of the world.
People who are eligible to receive a booster dose were asked to get it, without waiting for omicron specific doses. In one of the major three studies released by the CDC, getting a booster dose is said to be 95 percent effective in preventing hospitalizations while the second dose is only 55 percent effective and fades over months.
The omicron-specific vaccine is still under trial, which might take months to complete. Even if the trials are over, it will take months to roll out the vaccines, as omicron is on the surge and eligible people are recommended to receive it.
It was announced that even if an individual receives a booster dose, he/she is still eligible to receive an omicron-specific vaccine as a fourth dose. But the company announced that a fourth vaccine may not be necessary as the third dose is found to give better protection against the virus. If locals take an omicron-specific vaccine after the third dose, it can be expected to offer better protection against the virus.
Health experts said that the reason third vaccine antibodies decrease over time is that bodies tend to release them, as too much of antibodies is not necessary. They shared their concern that as viruses may mutate over time, vaccines might be changed as well to fight better, but as of now, the vaccines are providing better protection against the virus.
It is to be expected that as months pass by people may need to receive a yearly dose of vaccination to offer better protection against the virus and to reduce sudden outbreaks.
Many researchers and health experts suggest that covid is nearing its end. But covid cannot completely disappear from our lives, it will live along with us but as science advances and we have enough methods to fight against it, and not to let the virus take over our normal lives.
Developing vaccines that specifically target coronavirus is necessary, so even if new mutations of covid arise we can be prepared to fight against it.