Moderna Says its Covid-19 Vaccine Shows Promise in Lab Setting Against Variants

Vaccine maker Moderna said on Tuesday that its Covid-19 vaccine showed promise in a lab setting against coronavirus variants, including the highly contagious Delta variant first identified in India.

The American biotech company said the results came from vitro neutralisation studies of sera from eight participants one week after they received the second dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines

The vaccine produced neutralising titers against all variants tested, including additional versions of the Beta variant, scientifically named B.1.351 which was first identified in South Africa; three lineage variants of B.1.617 which was first identified in India, including the Kappa (B.1.617.1) and the Delta variant (B.1.617.2); the Eta variant (B.1.525) which was first identified in Nigeria; and the A.23.1 and A.VOI.V2 variants first identified in Uganda and Angola, respectively, according to Moderna.

"These new data are encouraging and reinforce our belief that the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine should remain protective against newly detected variants," said Chief Executive Officer of Moderna Stephane Bancel.

These data were submitted as a preprint to bioRxiv, and have not yet been peer-reviewed.

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Earlier, the Massachusetts-based company had said that the vaccine induced immune responses among children that were comparable to those seen in a study of adults last year, a finding that could clear the way for a second shot for use in adolescents after Pfizer-BioNTech.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could make a decision within weeks of the request if it follows the same kind of timetable if took with Pfizer Inc.'s PFE shot. The agency took about a month to clear Pfizer's request for use of its Covid-19 vaccine in adolescents, said The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

Immunizing children is crucial to developing the communitywide immunity needed to move fully past pandemic precautions, health specialists were quoted as saying.