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World

Moderna says COVID-19 vaccine effective against UK, South Africa variants

  • The company reported findings from a study that used blood samples from eight people, who had two shots of the vaccine, and two monkey and two monkeys that had also been immunised.
  • The results have not been published or peer-reviewed yet, but have been submitted to bioRxiv, which posts preliminary studies online.
Updated 25 Jan 2021

Moderna has announced that their coronavirus vaccine is effective against Britain and South Africa variants of the virus.

It said that the company is developing a new form of the vaccine that could be used as a booster shot against that virus.

The company reported findings from a study that used blood samples from eight people, who had two shots of the vaccine, and two monkey and two monkeys that had also been immunised.

For the study, the company collaborated with the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

It found that the UK’s variant had no impact on the levels of neutralising antibodies produced after vaccination, while, the South African form, there was a six-fold reduction in those levels.

Even so, the company said, those antibodies “remain above levels that are expected to be protective.”

The results have not been published or peer-reviewed yet, but have been submitted to bioRxiv, which posts preliminary studies online.

Several new variants of the virus have emerged, with mutations that worry scientists. A form first detected in Britain is about twice as contagious as the virus identified in China a year ago.