Moderna has made case for booster following data from large COVID-19 vaccine trial which shows that the protection it gives has been declining over time.
Moderna President, Stephen Hoge, said in a statement on Wednesday that at least 600,000 additional cases of COVID-19 resulting from the waning immunity would require additional care.
“This means as you look, at minimum we expect the estimated impact of waning immunity would be 600,000 additional cases of COVID-19,” toward the fall and winter”. Hoge, however, did not project how many of the cases would be severe, but said some would require hospitalization.
Reuters reported that the data stands in stark contrast with data from several recent studies that suggested Moderna’s vaccine protection lasts longer than a similar shot from Pfizer and German partner BioNTech .
Experts said the difference is likely due to Moderna’s higher dose of messenger RNA (mRNA) and the slightly longer interval between the first and second shots. Both vaccines proved to be exceedingly effective at preventing illness in their large Phase III studies.
Moderna’s analysis, however, showed higher rates of infection among people vaccinated roughly 13 months ago compared with those vaccinated roughly eight months ago. The study period was from July-August, when Delta was the predominant strain. It has yet to undergo peer review.
Moderna on Sept. 1 submitted its application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking authorization for a booster shot.
Hoge said data from its booster studies shows the vaccine could increase neutralizing antibodies to levels even higher than were seen after the second dose.