Moderna’s new Omicron-specific vaccine may be strong enough to last for a year, Professor Luke O’Neill has told The Pat Kenny Show.
The company last week announced trial results for its new bivalent booster jab – noting that it “demonstrates superior antibody response against Omicron”.
The vaccine contains mRNA coding for the spike protein of two COVID variants – the original virus and another targeting Omicron.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Trinity Professor Luke O’Neill said the result show the new jab to be “really effective.”
“They got a very high antibody response. It was a hugely effective vaccine – in the trial of course, this is the first trial of this,” he said.
“So now we have the first the Omicron-specific vaccine. The prediction will be that this will now become the one to use, obviously, because Omicron is easily the most dominant one in the world at the moment, alongside its siblings BA.4 and BA.5.”
He said the jab should last for a full year.
“They reported a huge antibody response,” he said. “The response was so strong they are saying it might last a year.”
“So, in other words, this might be what we’re looking for. You get your vaccine that protects you for at least a year and then it becomes like the flu vaccine in a sense.”
He said it worked well against all variants it was tested against.
“In the trials and studies they did, it protected against any variant that they have tested so far,” he said. “At least in terms of generating antibody response.
“That’s the future by the way. We will see these bivalent and multivalent vaccines … they’re the one we’re going to see in the future.
“Remember there is something like 40 vaccines still in trials.”
He said the long-term goal is a jab that works against all coronaviruses.
“A universal vaccine that works against any coronavirus, should a new one jump from say bats into humans again,” he said.
“We don’t want to think about that but there is a risk of that. A universal vaccine against any coronavirus will protect us in that situation as well.”
The “real dream” however, is a vaccine that prevents infection as well as disease.
“There are several of those now being tested,” he said.
“These would be intranasal vaccines to protect your nose because infection happens in your nose.
“So again, a huge amount of effort is still going on in the background. There is an awful lot of people still working on this to try to get a really great vaccine, again, just in cases a new variant emerges.”
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