JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Clinical trials for a new Moderna COVID-19 booster shot are underway in Jacksonville.
Four hundred people in Jacksonville and across the U.S. are enrolled in the clinical study, which is different from previous trials because participants will receive the actual vaccine versus half of the participants getting a placebo and the other half getting the actual vaccination.
The trials began Thursday and are expected to finish within the next few days.
The new messenger RNA booster shot is expected to be a game changer when it comes to fighting the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
News4JAX spoke to Dr. Michael Koren, the director of the Jacksonville Clinical Research Center, who called this vaccination “different” from the previous options.
“This will be one that’s different from what’s on the market in that it’s specific for the type of virus we are dealing with today,” Koren said.
Current RNA messenger booster shots are only formulated to fight the original version of COVID-19, but the newly formulated booster specifically targets the Omicron BA4 and BA5 variants of COVID-19, which are currently the prevalent variants across the U.S.
People who have already received their first two initial doses of the Moderna vaccine and booster shot only received doses that were designed to fight the original version of COVID-19.
Dr. Koren said the FDA believes Moderna has the capability of designing a vaccine for new variants of COVID-19; however, he did mention one caveat.
“They just want to show the immunogenicity is acceptable, meaning you’re not getting a lot of other side effects in the short-term and also that you actually promote the right antibody response after you get the booster,” Koren said.