According to results, Moderna Inc.’s coronavirus booster vaccines showed positive results against immune system-evading strains that appeared in South Africa and Brazil.
Based on Moderna’s report, two types of booster shots studied spurred higher levels of virus-halting antibodies against the variant strain P.1 that damaged Brazil as well as B.1.351, spread in South Africa. Remarkably, one of the boosters is an additional low-dose shot of the existing vaccine. At the same time, the other type is custom-made against the South Africa strain.
Scientists and vaccine makers are trying to keep up with the rise of coronavirus variants with new mutations that may help them elude existing vaccines from Moderna, partners Pfizer and BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson. Notably, South Africa stopped its rollout of AstraZeneca’s vaccine after a study revealed limited effectiveness against the variant circulating.
Meanwhile, in Moderna’s trial, the customized booster mRNA-1273.351 had the highest antibody levels against the strain spread in South Africa. According to the company, the initial results are based on COVID antibody levels two weeks after the booster shots. Moreover, Moderna announced that the trial is proceeding to collect more data. The trial also examines the third type of booster. This booster combines equal amounts of the current vaccine with the customized booster mRNA-1273.351.
Vaccine Producers Work Hard to Develop Booster Shots Against New Strains
According to Stephane Bancel, Moderna’s chief executive officer, they believe that the new data will reinforce their confidence. Hence their booster strategy should be protective against new variants. Bancel added that they would resume making as many updates to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine as needed to control the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the company, humans tolerated the boosters well. However, they had some side effects comparable to those detected after the second dose of its existing coronavirus vaccine. The effects include headache, fatigue, and pain in muscles, joints, and the injection site.
Moderna, Pfizer, and other vaccine producers are working to develop booster shots against emerging variant strains.