British Study Finds Moderna Vaccines Against COVID-19 Provide Greater Booster Impact

By Alistair Smout

LONDON, Dec 3 (Reuters) – COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna using mRNA technology provide the biggest boost to antibody levels when given 10 to 12 weeks after the second dose, according to a new British study.

The “COV-Boost” study was cited by British officials when they announced that Pfizer and Moderna were preferred to be used in the country’s boost campaign, but the data has only now been released.

The study found that six of the seven boosters examined improved immunity after initial vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, while all seven increased immunity when given after two doses of the AstraZeneca drug.

“A third dose will be effective for many of the vaccines that we have tested and in many different combinations,” Professor Saul Faust, an immunologist at the University of Southampton and leader of the trial, told reporters.

The study, published late Thursday, found that a full or half dose of Pfizer or a full dose of Moderna gives a strong boost to both antibody and T-cell levels, regardless of whether the person initially received Pfizer or AstraZeneca.

“The four most widely implemented vaccination regimens in the UK lead to essentially the same levels of immunity and are likely to be equally effective,” said Professor Eleanor Riley, an immunologist at the University of Edinburgh. He also indicated that the data also supported a policy change on reinforcement.

“These data support the decision of the JCVI (vaccine committee) earlier this week to advance the booster doses to three months after the second vaccine,” he noted.

When AstraZeneca, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson and Curevac were given as boosters, antibody levels for any of the initial vaccines increased, albeit to a lesser degree, according to the study. However, although Valneva increased antibodies in people initially vaccinated with AstraZeneca, it did not provide a boost for Pfizer.

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