A modified version of the corona vaccine from pharmaceutical company Moderna has successfully neutralized the South African and Brazilian variants of the corona virus in laboratory tests. These results show that an additional booster vaccine against these variants should be feasible and could be rolled out quickly.
Just as the first corona vaccines were being distributed around the world, a new problem emerged in the corona pandemic. Some dangerous and more contagious variants quickly spread to all continents. And while the British variant did not cause any problems for the current vaccines, it was very different for the Brazilian (P1) and South African (B1351). They had a variation in their spike protein and are therefore not always recognized by the antibodies that make vaccines.
Pharmaceutical companies quickly began new trials to modify their corona vaccine to recognize these new, more contagious variants. AstraZeneca stated earlier that it had a modified version ready at the end of 2021 and Pfizer / BioNTech is also working hard to develop a variant of their vaccine.
More antibodies to variants
But Moderna now seems to be the first company to actually achieve this. It shared the results of a small test on 40 volunteers on Wednesday evening who had already received two doses of their vaccine. Half of them just got a third dose of that vaccine, while the other half got the modified version.
Two weeks later, according to Moderna, it turned out that the number of antibodies in their blood against the variants of the coronavirus was increased in both test groups. However, the group that received the modified vaccine had a lot more neutralizing antibodies to variants with a different spike protein, such as the Brazilian and South African variant.
Both groups of test persons would also have experienced few side effects. Apart from injection site pain, the most common side effects were fatigue, headache, muscle pain and joint pain.
It is still unclear when these modified booster vaccines could be rolled out. Authorities have previously indicated that the large-scale trials required to obtain approval for the first version of their vaccine should not be repeated.