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COVID-19: Pfizer, Moderna Release Clinical Trial Results On Response Against Virus Variants

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Photo Credit: flickr/US Secretary of Defense
Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine Photo Credit: U.S. Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Andrew Moseley

Both Pfizer and Moderna - two of the three COVID-19 vaccines approved for distribution in the US - have seen promising results in combating variants of the virus in recent studies.

This week, both pharmaceutical companies released results of clinical trials that show the vaccines are effective in combating COVID-19 variants, including the prominent strains from South Africa and Brazil.

Moderna has been testing a 50-microgram dose of its vaccine in previously vaccinated people, which found the booster dose increased neutralizing antibody responses against the original virus as well as the variants.

Pfizer has also been testing booster shots, though the high protection rate of the vaccine against the original strain may prove that a third shot is unnecessary, according to some experts.

Side effects of both were similar to those experienced by people who received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which include fatigue, joint pain, headaches, muscle, and joint pain.

Preliminary results of the trials will be published online, but have not yet been peer-reviewed.

“As we seek to defeat the ongoing pandemic, we remain committed to being proactive as the virus evolves,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement. “We are encouraged by these new data, which reinforce our confidence that our booster strategy should be protective against these newly detected variants.

“The strong and rapid boost in titers to levels above primary vaccination also clearly demonstrates the ability of mRNA-1273 to induce immune memory.”

According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), projections show that COVID-19 cases could surge through the beginning of summer due to the various variants, before a sharp decline in July as more Americans get vaccinated.

“We are seeing that our current vaccines are protecting against the contaminant variants circulating in the country,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said this week. “Simply put, the sooner we get more and more people vaccinated, the sooner we will all get back to normal.” 

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