An early clinical trial recently showed that the new Moderna COVID-19 booster could be an effective shield against the variants of coronavirus originally found in South Africa and Brazil.
According to ScienceAlert, the American biotech company began to develop "variant-specific boosters" earlier this year after evidence that several variants of COVID-19 can break through present vaccines.
This is Moderna's pioneering clinical trial in humans, following early trials on mice, and so far, the results are found promising.
Stephen Bancel, Moderna CEO said in a press release the company posted on its website, they are encouraged by this new date, which strengthens their confidence that their booster scheme should be protective against the said newly-identified variants.
To test this new booster, 40 people who had completely received their Moderna COVID-19 vaccine between six and eight months back, were tested for their neutralizing antibody levels.
Antibodies, as described in the National Human Genome Research Institute, are proteins made by immune cells binding to viruses.
At this trial's outset, results revealed that only approximately 50 percent of the participants had identifiable antibody levels against two variants: one, first identified in South Africa known as B.1.351, and the other, first detected in Brazil also known as P.1.
The participants were provided with one of three choices: another dose of the original Moderna COVID-19 vaccine; a version custom-made particularly to the B.1.351 variant; or a version that incorporated a 50-50 mix of the first two versions.
After 15 days, among those who were given the original Moderna vaccine, or the booster against the South African variant, results revealed that both groups had improved antibodies from both of the variants earlier mentioned. Meanwhile, data for the 50-50 mix group is still unavailable.
Moderna COVID-19 Booster Effect
Averagely though, those given the new Modern COVID-19 booster produced more than 150 percent of the amount of variant-specific neutralizing antibodies, compared to the people who were given the original shot.
For clarification, the study findings presently have not been peer-reviewed. According to Moderna, the results have been submitted to bioRxiv preprint server, although they are not yet available online.
Therefore, for now, the company official said, there is a need to take things with a grain of salt and not get ahead of themselves.
Side effects from this initial trial were the same as those reported by those receiving their dose of the original COVID-19 vaccine of Moderna like headache, fatigue, and muscle and joint pain.
However, in a promising indication, these effects were somewhat less typical with the new booster. In this trial, 10.5 percent of those who got the variant-specific booster said they experienced a grad-three adverse event, compared to 15 percent of the people who were given the third dose of the original Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Many other vaccine makers are presently working on variant-specific versions of their jabs. A pair of studies published recently based on real-world data, also revealed that the regular Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is efficient in terms of protection against the worst results when it comes to B.1.351 and B.1.1.7 which was originally detected in the United Kingdom.
Related information about the Moderna COVID-19 booster is shown on CNBC Television's YouTube video below: