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Fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine provides additional boost in antibodies, Israeli study says

COVID-19 vaccine
Posted at 1:38 PM, Jan 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-17 13:38:03-05

A fourth dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine could increase antibodies and provide more protection from the virus, according to a new study from Israel.

Researchers released new preliminary data Monday suggesting that a fourth dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines enhanced or increased the number of antibodies to levels higher than what has been seen following a third dose.

However, the study also found that it might not be enough to protect against a potential breakthough infection caused by the omicron variant.

In December, Israel started trials for a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccines for healthy participants. It's the first study of its kind among healthy people receiving a fourth dose.

More data is expected when the team publishes its findings.

Top health officials like White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci have already speculated that a fourth dose of an mRNA vaccine may be necessary in the months ahead.

"It is conceivable that in the future, we might need an additional shot, but right now, we are hoping that we will get a greater degree of durability of protection from that booster shot," Fauci said in December. "So we're going to take one step at a time, get the data from the third boost, and then make decisions based on scientific data."

Moderna's CEO said earlier this month that she expected researchers to recommend a fourth dose of her company's vaccine by the fall of 2022.

"I still believe we're going to need boosters in the fall of '22 and forward," Stéphane Bancel said, according to CNBC.