Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Moderna Says Vaccine Protects Against All Known Variants

By Jim Crumly - Jan 25, 2021 at 12:54PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

A weaker response to the South African variant prompts studies of a strain-specific booster.

Moderna (MRNA -4.97%) announced evidence that its COVID-19 vaccine is protective against all variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus detected to date, including two strains first detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa. The level of protective antibodies against the U.K. strain, B.1.1.7, was equivalent to those against earlier variants. But while the antibodies to B.1.351, the South African strain, were believed to be sufficient to be protective against the disease, they were reduced, leading the company to move ahead with testing a new version of the vaccine aimed at that variant.

Vaccine being drawn into a syringe.

Image source: Getty Images.

Moderna's study was conducted in the laboratory by exposing blood serum from eight clinical trial participants aged 18 to 55 who had received the two-dose regimen of its mRNA-1273 vaccine and from two nonhuman primates to all key emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2. The level of neutralizing antibodies to all the variants were judged to be protective, but antibodies to the South African variant were reduced six-fold compared with the response to earlier variants.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said, "Out of an abundance of caution and leveraging the flexibility of our mRNA platform, we are advancing an emerging variant booster candidate against the variant first identified in the Republic of South Africa into the clinic to determine if it will be more effective to boost titers against this and potentially future variants." The biotech company expects the booster could be given in combination with any of the leading vaccine candidates.

The new booster vaccine candidate, dubbed mRNA-1273.351, will be advanced into a preclinical study and a phase 1 trial in the U.S. Moderna will also test the effectiveness of a third dose of its standard vaccine as a booster against emerging strains of COVID-19. 

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Moderna, Inc. Stock Quote
Moderna, Inc.
MRNA
$136.25 (-4.97%) $-7.13

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
330%
 
S&P 500 Returns
115%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/22/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.