Moderna is studying the use of a third dose of the variant vaccine

Moderna is studying the use of a third dose of the variant vaccine

To avoid the possibility of reduced efficacy against new coronavirus variants, Moderna will test the effects of a third dose

(photo: Hakan Nural / Unsplash) Moderna announced that, according to the results of its test, its mRna-1273 vaccine against Covid-19 stimulates the production of antibodies capable of neutralizing even the mutated variants of the coronavirus identified for the first time in England and South Africa. But perhaps something more is needed: a third dose could increase its effectiveness.

Now available as a preprint on bioRxiv: mRNA-1273 vaccine induces neutralizing antibodies against spike mutants from global SARS-CoV-2 variants. Read more here:

- Moderna (@moderna_tx) January 25, 2021

Effective, but how much?

The results of the Moderna study, available in preprint on bioRxive, indicate that its vaccine produces neutralizing antibodies against the coronavirus variants identified today.

“Vaccination with the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine has produced neutralizing securities against all major emerging variants tested, including B.1.1.7 and B.1.351, identified for the first time in the UK and Republic of South Africa, respectively, ”the press release read. “The study did not show any significant impact on neutralizing titers against variant B.1.1.7 compared to previous variants. A sixfold reduction in neutralizing titers was observed with variant B.1.351 compared to the previous variants ".

There is therefore the possibility - the company admits - that with respect to variant B.1.351 ( South African) the effectiveness in the prevention of moderate and severe forms of Covid-19 is lower, around 70-80% (compared to 95% attested for the original coronavirus) - a percentage, however, high.

Booster test

Scientists who worked on the mRna-1273 vaccine think that the effectiveness against new variants, perhaps even those that will emerge in the future, could be enhanced with the administration of a third dose. This is why Moderna has decided to start an ad hoc trial to verify if this further recall will be able to increase the level of neutralizing antibodies.

Variant by variant

Another way the company undertakes to go through is to create a variant of its vaccine (mRna-1273.351) designed on the South African variant.

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