Manufacturers adapt vaccines to protect against new strains of coronavirus
American biotech company Moderna is one of the first to announce the start of clinical trials of a new version of their COVID-19 vaccine which is hoped will offer effective protection against the “South African” strain of the virus.
The first samples have been sent to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Phase 1 clinical trial, where specialists will work to determine whither the updated vaccine (mRNA-1273.351) offers increased immunity against mutations.
The company has announced the development of two strategies that will go on to be submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for review.
The first is an assessment of three options for using booster doses of a new vaccine against the “South African” strain.
The second will evaluate a series of preliminary vaccinations with both vaccine variants (mRNA-1273.351 and mRNA-1273.211) on participants who have neither been vaccinated nor had COVID-19.
Currently, the coronavirus strain causing the greatest concern has been dubbed the “South African” strain. According to preliminary, data this particular mutation reduces the effect of the neutralising antibodies and the effectiveness of the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines.