The American biotechnology company Moderna published on Wednesday (May 5th) the first positive results concerning the trials of a modified version of its vaccine, developed specifically against the South African variant, as well as the effect of a third dose of its vaccine. initial against Covid-19.
"We are encouraged by these new data, which strengthen our confidence in the idea that our strategy of
booster should provide protection against these new variants,"
said in a statement Stéphane Bancel, boss of Moderna.
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Forty people already vaccinated, that is to say who had received the two doses of the initial Moderna vaccine between six and eight months before these trials, took part. Some received a third injection of a new formulation (called mRNA-1273.351) developed against the South African variant, and others a third dose of the initial vaccine. These two options
"increased the levels
of neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and two variants of concern,"
namely the South African and Brazilian variants, Moderna said.
The antibody levels were measured in the participants two weeks after the third injection.
"increased to similar or higher levels"
than those noted after the first series of two injections, underlines the company.
The vaccine formulation developed specifically against the South African variant was found to be more effective against it than the original vaccine, Moderna added.
Another option, a dose containing both the original vaccine and the new formula, is also being investigated but no results have yet been revealed on it.
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Moderna's vaccine uses a new technology called messenger RNA (mRNA). This technique
"allows the rapid manufacture of vaccine candidates which include key mutations of the virus, potentially allowing a faster development of future alternative vaccines"
against potential new variants, said Stéphane Bancel.
"We will continue to make as many updates as necessary to our Covid-19 vaccine in order to bring the pandemic under control,"