Moderna Booster Shows Promising Results Against COVID-19 Variants

Moderna on Wednesday reported positive early results for its booster shot against new variants of the COVID-19 strains B.1.351 and P.1, which have been identified in South Africa and Brazil, in an ongoing clinical trial.

According to CNBC, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said, “As we seek to defeat the ongoing pandemic, we remain committed to being proactive as the virus evolves. We are encouraged by this new data, which reinforces our confidence that our booster strategy should be protective against these newly detected variants.”

The company also said its booster for another vaccine, mRNA-1273.351, had worked even better than its current vaccine against the South African variant, B.1.351. The new booster vaccine is variant-specific and targeted for B.1.351. Results did not trigger an adverse immune response, but there were still side effects associated with its “second dose” vaccine. The Moderna vaccine requires two shots given four weeks apart.

Moderna is trying three approaches for vaccination. The first approach would innoculate patients with a variant-specific booster shot, mRNA-1273.351. The second approach would utilize the original vaccine with a variant-specific shot. And the third approach would test a shot of the original vaccine at a lower dose.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday that, with the B.1.1.7 variant having been identified in the United Kingdom, COVID-19 cases would surge in May but would drop off by July.

Speaking during a White House COVID-19 briefing, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, “We are seeing that our current vaccines are protecting against the contaminant variants circulating in the country. Simply put, the sooner we get more and more people vaccinated, the sooner we will all get back to normal.”

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