Moderna Vaccine Is Effective Against South African Variant
The Moderna vaccine has proven effective against mutant variants of coronavirus discovered in the UK and South Africa.
It’s expected that a two-dose regimen of this vaccine will protect against emerging strains detected to date, as per Moderna, with early lab tests suggesting that antibodies triggered by the vaccine may be able to recognise and fight the new strains.
However, further studies will be needed in order to confirm that this will hold true for those who have already been vaccinated.
Moderna has stated it will be testing a vaccine booster against the South Africa variant during pre-clinical trials to determine whether that would prove more effective in boosting antibodies against this variant and other potential variants to come.
These new variants have been spreading quickly throughout various countries, undergoing changes or mutations which mean they may infect human cells with greater ease than the original version of coronavirus.
In a statement, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna Stéphane Bancel said:
As we seek to defeat the COVID-19 virus, which has created a worldwide pandemic, we believe it is imperative to be proactive as the virus evolves. We are encouraged by these new data, which reinforce our confidence that the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine should be protective against these newly detected variants.
Out of an abundance of caution and leveraging the flexibility of our mRNA platform, we are advancing an emerging variant booster candidate against the variant first identified in the Republic of South Africa into the clinic to determine if it will be more effective to boost titers against this and potentially future variants.
Several new variants of coronavirus have emerged, with scientists having expressed concerns about mutations, as per The New York Times.
A variant which was first detected in Britain is reported to be around twice as contagious as the virus first identified in China one year ago, and researchers have started to suspect it could also be more deadly.
As reported by BBC News, experts believe the UK strain, which was detected in September, could be up to 70% more transmissible than the original strain.
Current vaccines have been designed to fight earlier variants. However, scientists believe these vaccines should still work against new variants, although they may potentially not work quite as well.
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