Moderna Booster Shot Effective Against Variants, Says Company

NEW YORK -
Boxes of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Clinical trials indicate that a third booster shot is effective against emerging coronavirus variants, Moderna announced.

The pharmaceutical company’s two-dose vaccine has been widely used throughout the globe, to great success, but experts have been warning that a mutated coronavirus strain that is resistant to the vaccines can set progress back for months.

A recent study indicated that giving 40 participants a third shot, six to eight months after their initial vaccines, can boost the immune system against more infectious and potentially more lethal variants, such as the one that emerged from Britain and South Africa, the New York Post reported.

Participants were given either a third dose of the vaccine already in use, or a strain-specific booster currently being tested. The strain-specific booster has been modified to treat the South African variant, or B.1.351, and produced antibodies to neutralize the strain. It is also possible people would receive a mixture of the original vaccine and the strain-specific dose as a booster.

Moderna’s scientists have said they are capable of tweaking the vaccine to react to variants as the mutations develop.

“As we seek to defeat the ongoing pandemic, we remain committed to being proactive as the virus evolves,” company CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement.

“We are encouraged by these new data, which reinforce our confidence that our booster strategy should be protective against these newly detected variants. We will continue to make as many updates to our COVID-19 vaccine as necessary to control the pandemic,” Barcel concluded.