Moderna Inc. says its Covid-19 vaccine has produced antibodies that kill the virus in laboratory tests against new coronavirus strains first identified in Britain and South Africa.
Two doses of Moderna vaccine against Covid-19 are expected to protect against the virus strains that have been identified to date, the company said.
Moderna has announced, however, that it will test a booster of the South African variant vaccine in pre-clinical trials to see if it will be more effective in boosting antibodies against this variant and other future variants.
Although all viruses are constantly mutating, scientists are concerned about the mutations discovered in Britain and South Africa because they believe they are capable of altering important functions of the virus.
What we know about the Moderna vaccine
Moderna is an American biotechnology company based in Massachusetts and its vaccine is called mRNA-1273.
This vaccine is being developed in collaboration with the US Government.
The Moderna vaccine has been shown to be 94.5% effective.
The immunity to Covid-19 provided by the Moderna vaccine lasts at least a year, according to estimates by the American biotechnology company.
Moderna's vaccine, like Pfizer's, is based on providing chains of genetic material to turn human cells into protein “factories”. External proteins produced by the body are not dangerous because the rest of the virus does not exist, however, the body now sees the protein and plans immune soldiers to fight it in a future exposure.
This technology has not been reused in an approved vaccine, and it has taken 15-20 years to develop and test other vaccines. This time the mRNA technology was chosen because the scientists knew that this would make a vaccine grow faster.
The Moderna vaccine is expected to be used in inaccessible locations, such as in provincial hospitals. This vaccine needs to be stored and transported frozen, but does not require the extremely low temperatures of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.
Once thawed, the Moderna vaccine can be stored at standard refrigerator temperatures.
It is administered in two shots with an interval of 28 days.