According to a news release by the firm, the two doses of the vaccine “is expected to be protective against emerging strains detected to date.”
“Results from in vitro neutralisation studies of sera from individuals vaccinated with Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine (are) showing activity against emerging strains of SARS-CoV-2… Vaccination with the Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine produced neutralizing titers against all key emerging variants tested, including B.1.1.7 and B.1.351, first identified in the UK and Republic of South Africa, respectively. The study showed no significant impact on neutralising titers against the B.1.1.7 variant relative to prior variants,” Moderna said.
This study was 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). The manuscript has been submitted as a preprint to bioRxiv and will be submitted for peer-reviewed publication.
The company is advancing an emerging variant booster candidate (mRNA-1273.351) against the variant first identified in South Africa.
“A six-fold reduction in neutralising titers was observed with the B.1.351 variant relative to prior variants. Despite this reduction, neutralising titer levels with B.1.351 remain above levels that are expected to be protective,” it said.
According to Sputnik, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the B.1.1.7 variant of the coronavirus, initially reported to be 50-70 percent more contagious, has been discovered and it is likely to be 30 percent deadlier.
CNN reported that David Montefiori, a virologist at Duke University Medical Center, said while he’s “cautiously optimistic” Moderna’s vaccine will work well against this strain, he is still not sure.
“The efficacy might be reduced somewhat, but it may still be very effective,” he said, as quoted by CNN and added, “Hopefully the vaccine will still be 70-80 per cent effective.”
The variant first identified in the UK has also appeared in more than 45 other countries, including 195 cases in the US. The variant first identified in South Africa has appeared in more than 20 other countries.