A two-dose regimen of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be protective against emerging strains detected to date, the company said.
Moderna, however, said it would test a vaccine booster against the South Africa variant in pre-clinical trials to see if that would be more effective in boosting antibodies against the variant and other future variants.
Although all viruses mutate constantly, scientists are concerned about the mutations discovered in Britain and South Africa because they are believed to be capable of altering key functions of the virus.
Earlier this month, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech said its COVID-19 vaccine also appeared to work against the key mutation found in the variants of the coronavirus discovered in Britain and South Africa
In a laboratory study conducted by the U.S. drugmaker, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, results indicated the vaccine was effective in neutralizing virus with the so-called N501Y mutation of the spike protein.
The mutation could be responsible for greater transmissibility and there had been concern it could also make the virus escape antibody neutralization elicited by the vaccine, said Phil Dormitzer, one of Pfizer’s top viral vaccine scientists.
The first results of tests on the variants offer a glimmer of hope while more studies are carried out as Britain and other countries try to tame the more infectious variants that authorities believe are driving a surge in infections that could overwhelm health-care systems.
— with Global News files