Moderna Vaccine Not Effective Against “Mutant” South African COVID Strain, But Works With UK Variant


Moderna’s latest trial data includes some good news…and some bad news.

The good news is that the biotech company’s original COVID jab is effective against two mutations of SARS-CoV-2 which were first isolated in the UK and South Africa, respectively.

The bad news is that, at least when it comes to the South African variant, Moderna’s jab is much less effective than scientists had expected. That’s a bad sign, because it suggests the vaccines might not perform as well, particularly in elderly patients, or that the immunity they provide might not last as long, as various strains of the virus continue to mutate.

However, perhaps due to the optimistic tone of the press release, investors took the news as a positive and bid Moderna shares higher.

Here’s some more details from the FT:

Laboratory tests show Moderna’s Covid-19 jab still works against the variant named 501.V2, which emerged in South Africa, and B.1.1.7, which was first discovered in the UK, the company said. But it warned that the neutralising antibody response to 501.V2 was sixfold lower than to the original variant, raising concerns that immunity to it may wane significantly, particularly in older people.

Moderna has launched a series of trials intended to test its vaccine’s efficacy against several different mutant strains.- READ MORE

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