According to data from Moderna’s Phase 02 clinical trials, their variant-targeting booster shot, appears to offer protection against variants of the virus initially found in Brazil and South Africa, such as the so-called B.1.354, and P.1.
In-trial testing of a 50-microgram dose of it’s vaccine is currently being administered to previously-vaccinated individuals. According to data, the dose increased anti-body immune responses against the original COVID-19 as well as other variants.
A booster shot of its other vaccine, mRNA-1273.351 has shown even better results than it’s current vaccine against B.1.351. This new vaccine is a variant-specific booster designed to target B.1.351.
The preliminary results are expected to be published online after peer review.
Via a Moderna press release, CEO Stephane Bancel said, “As we seek to defeat the on-going pandemic, we remain committed to being proactive as the virus evolves. We are encouraged by these new data, which reinforces our confidence that our booster strategy should be protective against these newly-detected variants. The strong and rapid boost in titers to levels above primary vaccination also clearly demonstrates the ability of mRNA-1273 to induce immune memory. Our mRNA platform allows for rapid design of vaccine candidates that incorporate key virus mutations, potentially allowing for faster developing of future variant-matched vaccines should they be needed. We look forward to sharing data on our multivalent booster candidate, mRNA-1273.211, which combines mRNA-1273 and mRNA.351 in a single vaccine, when available. We will continue to make as many updates to our COVID-19 vaccine as necessary to control the pandemic.”
Side effects are reported to be similar to those seen in the previous studies, which include injection-sight pain, fatigue, headache, and muscle and joint pain and discomfort.
The CDC reported Wednesday that there could be a surge in cases through May due to variants of the virus, and dropping sharply by July as vaccinations drive down infections.
Via a White House news briefing, CDC director Rochelle Walenksy 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.”