Moderna v the Variants

Early laboratory tests done by Moderna suggest that the antibodies triggered by the vaccine can recognise and fight the new variants of coronavirus that have emerged since the vaccine was first produced.

Naturally, more studies are needed to confirm whether this is true for people that have already been vaccinated. Especially as the new variants are spreading quickly in a number of countries. 

The variants have undergone changes or mutations meaning that they can infect human cells more easily than the original version of the coronavirus that started the pandemic. Experts believe the UK strain, which emerged in September may be up to 70% more transmissible.

Alongside the Moderna tests, there are early results which suggest that the Pfizer vaccine protects against the new UK variant.

For the Moderna study, researchers looked at blood samples taken from eight people who received the recommended two doses of the Modern vaccine. The findings are yet to be peer reviewed but suggest immunity from the vaccine recognises the new variants. 

Moderna is currently testing to see whether giving a booster shot might be beneficial. The company is also investigating whether redesigning the vaccine to be a better match for new variants would be beneficial. 

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