Moderna says its COVID-19 vaccine works against the UK and South African virus variants.
On Monday, Moderna said studies revealed that its COVID-19 vaccine “shows activity” against the new, faster-spreading mutations of the virus.
According to the company, the vaccine produced antibodies against all of the variants tested, including the UK and South African strains. Protection against the UK strain was stronger, they noted.
“The two-dose regimen of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the 100 µg dose is expected to be protective against emerging strains detected to date,” the company said.
We just announced that the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine retains neutralizing activity against emerging variants first identified in the U.K. and the Republic of South Africa. Read more: https://t.co/UCCvX0PrKV pic.twitter.com/nCGl3hfhlU
— Moderna (@moderna_tx) January 25, 2021
Moderna also announced that it would be testing a booster shot of its vaccine to determine whether a third dose would be beneficial.
The company is also advancing studies of a booster specifically to protect against the South African variant. Preclinical studies and a Phase 1 study in the US are planned.
“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,” said Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna.
“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.”
Data suggests that the UK and South African COVID-19 variants spread faster than the initial strain of the virus. They have also been associated with a higher “viral burden,” the amount of a virus detected in an infected individual.
As of January 22, there are 31 cases of the UK strain and three cases of the South African variant in Canada.
There have been 340,200 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine distributed across Canada as of January 21.