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COVID-19: New Studies Shed Light On Moderna Vaccine's Effectiveness Against Variants

Moderna vaccines have proven effective against some COVID-19 variants.
Moderna vaccines have proven effective against some COVID-19 variants. Photo Credit: Moderna

Researchers have found that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has proven effective in fighting off more contagious variants of the virus.

A pair of new studies found that the Moderna vaccine, which is one of three approved by the FDA for administration in the U.S., is effective against the California variant that has recently been rapidly spreading, with protection lasting for at least six months.

In one study, researchers from Duke University found that antibodies generated by the Moderna dose had approximately two times less neutralizing power against the California strain.

While it showed a decline, researchers said that the study showed the vaccine is strongly effective against the variant.

The Duke study came on the heels of another project that found that the Moderna vaccine is also slightly weakened against the United Kingdom variant of COVID-19, known as the B.1.1.7 strain, but still proved to be highly effective in preventing the spread or contraction of the virus.

However, the Moderna vaccine still proved somewhat susceptible to the South African variant, though it still helped more than patients with no vaccine and is far less prevalent than the California strain.

“The good news is the California variant does not appear to be a problem for our current vaccines,” Dr. David Montefiori, a co-author of the Duke study. “That’s important to know because this (California) variant is now as prevalent in the US as the UK variant, both of which appear to be more contagious.”

In the second study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers looked at blood samples from 33 healthy participants who were dosed with Moderna doses in phases.

That study found that antibodies persisted for at least six months after the second dose was administered to complete the vaccination process.

The authors of that study noted that “ongoing studies are monitoring immune responses beyond six months as well as determining the effect of a booster dose to extend the duration and breadth of activity against emerging viral variants.”

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