PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Moderna's experimental COVID-19 vaccine that combines its original shot with protection against the omicron variant appears to work, the company announced Wednesday.
The company's preliminary study results show people given the combination shot experienced a higher boost in omicron-fighting antibodies than if they just got a fourth dose of the original vaccine.
"We believe strongly that this data supports an update of the vaccine," Dr. Stephen Hoge, Moderna's president, said Wednesday.
Dr. Marci Drees, chief infection prevention officer for ChristianaCare, said the vaccine has the potential to really make an impact.
"To combine the original vaccine, which gives you broader immunity against multiple strains, with an omicron-specific one, we look forward to seeing the data and hopefully that will be as good as what they are saying. Our vaccine strategy up until this point was boosting the same vaccine that was originally studied before any variants ever emerged," Drees said.
While variants of omicron have been the recent dominant strains, Drees warns that there is no way of knowing what variants could be on the horizon.
"It's been miraculous that we've gotten this far in just two years. It feels like a century. It's amazing that we have such effective vaccines. Think of how many more millions of lives could have been lost had we not had any vaccines," she said.
The Food and Drug Administration has set a meeting in late June for its scientific advisers to debate those questions and evaluate data from vaccine makers' tests of potential new formulas. Pfizer also is studying a combination shot, what scientists call a bivalent vaccine, with some data expected later this month.
Moderna's new study tested people who'd had three prior vaccinations, giving 377 of them a fourth dose of the original vaccine and another 437 the combo shot.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.