Moderna may be able to provide booster shots for protection against COVID-19 variants by the end of the year.
Reuters reports Moderna’s Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks on Wednesday said the company should be able to supply booster shots by the end of 2021, adding that testing shows the boosters provide a confident level of protection against coronavirus variants.
The National Institutes of Health began testing a booster shot from Moderna against a variant first found in South Africa that has given scientists some cause for concern compared with other strains.
The variant, B.1.351, appears to be more contagious than previous strains and could possibly evade some of the protections generated by therapeutics and vaccines, although preliminary evidence has shown current vaccines provide an adequate degree of protection against variants.
“Out of an abundance of caution, NIAID has continued its partnership with Moderna to evaluate this variant vaccine candidate should there be a need for an updated vaccine,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said last week.
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the variant of coronavirus that originated in the United Kingdom, the B.1.1.7 variant, has become the dominant strain in the U.S. Experts believe the variant is more contagious and could be more deadly, but all three vaccines authorized in the U.S., including Moderna’s, have shown to work effectively against the strain.
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