The biotechnology company Moderna said in a statement on Monday that new research shows its COVID-19 vaccine protects against new variants discovered in Britain and South Africa.
According to the company, vaccination with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine produced neutralizing titers against all key emerging variants tested. The company also said that it will test a new booster shot to target the South African variant after finding that the antibody response is not as strong.
A study, conducted in collaboration with the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), found that the two-dose regimen of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be protective against emerging strains detected to date.
The manuscript has been submitted as a preprint to bioRxiv and will be submitted for peer-reviewed publication.
Moderna said its clinical strategy is to proactively address the pandemic as the virus continues to evolve. “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,” Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna, said in a statement.
“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.”