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Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Appears to Work against New Lethal Strains

According to the latest statement by the drug maker, laboratory tests on individuals vaccinated with the vaccine found the drug to produce neutralizing titers against all key emerging variants tested including one identified in the UK and another in South Africa.
A COVID-19 vaccine developed by biotechnology company Moderna has been found to be effective against the new lethal strains of the SARS- COV - 2 virus that has been circulating in the UK and South Africa. The vaccine has now been approved for use in  a number of countries including the United States of America.

According to the latest statement by the drug maker, laboratory tests on individuals vaccinated with the vaccine found the drug to produce neutralizing titers against all key emerging variants tested including one identified in the UK and another in South Africa. 

Neutralizing titers are produced when there is a protection provided by effective vaccination.  The in vitro study assessed the ability of the drug release neutralizing antibodies against the new SARS-CoV-2 variants, using sera from eight Phase 1 clinical trial participants aged 18-55 years who received two doses each.

Though these findings have not yet been submitted for peer-reviewed publication, the researchers say that a two-dose regimen of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is expected to be protective against emerging strains detected to date.

The company also announced its clinical strategy to proactively address the pandemic as the virus continues to evolve. First, they say, they will test an additional booster dose of its COVID-19 Vaccine to study the ability to further increase neutralizing titers against emerging strains beyond the existing primary vaccination series and they also announced that they are working on another booster vaccine against the South African strain. 

“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,” said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna.

“Out of an abundance of caution and leveraging the flexibility of our 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”, she said.

However so far, the UK variant has seventeen mutations with eight of them located in the spike (S) protein that is found on the surface of SARS COV 2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The South African strain has so far had ten mutations all located in the spike protein.

 According to researchers, both variants have spread at a rapid rate and are associated with increased transmission of the viral respiratory disease.      

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