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Moderna has announced further research into whether a booster shot could provide additional protection with new COVID-19 variants.
The recent discovery of variants of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has led to questions about whether the 2 vaccines given emergency use authorization will be effective against them. In vitro neutralization studies run by Moderna show that the vaccine showed activity against both B.1.1.7, the variant first seen in the United Kingdom, and B.1.351, the variant first seen in South Africa.
Although Moderna does expect the vaccine to be able to work with other emerging COVID-19 strains, the company has said that they will study the impact of an additional booster dose. In addition they have begun preclinical studies of a booster candidate specifically targeted at the B.1.351 variant.
In the press release for the news, Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna 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.”
For more on the research, check out our sister publication Medical Economics.