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Moderna expects vaccine will be protective against variants, but will test boosters to improve immunity

The Moderna Covid-19 vaccine created antibodies that neutralized coronavirus variants first found in the United Kingdom and South Africa, the company said in...

Posted: Jan 25, 2021 11:59 AM
Updated: Jan 25, 2021 1:30 PM

The Moderna Covid-19 vaccine created antibodies that neutralized coronavirus variants first found in the United Kingdom and South Africa, the company said in a news release on Monday.

But there are concerns that the vaccine may have a somewhat decreased efficacy against the strain first spotted in South Africa, and Moderna is working on a booster aimed at fighting it.

Two doses of the vaccine are 'expected to be protective against emerging strains detected to date,' according to the release.

The company's study showed that the variant first found in the UK had 'no significant impact' on the vaccine's effectiveness.

But in the press release, Moderna noted that 'a six-fold reduction in neutralizing titers was observed with (the variant discovered in South Africa) relative to prior variants.'

The company said the vaccine was still expected to be effective.

'Despite this reduction, neutralizing titer levels with (the variant discovered in South Africa) remain above levels that are expected to be protective,' according to the press release.

David Montefiori, a virologist at Duke University Medical Center, said while he's 'cautiously optimistic' Moderna's vaccine will work well against this strain, he's still not sure.

'The efficacy might be reduced somewhat, but it may still be very effective,' he said. 'Hopefully the vaccine will still be 70-80% effective.'

The variant first identified in the UK has appeared in more than 45 other countries, including 195 cases in the US.

The variant first identified in South Africa has appeared in more than 20 other countries. No cases have been identified in the US, but experts say it's likely there are cases and US surveillance, which has been widely criticized, has not yet found them.

Vaccine maker to test booster shots

Moderna will test whether an additional booster dose of its Covid-19 vaccine can help protect against emerging variants of the coronavirus, the company said Monday.

The company said that while two doses of its vaccine are expected to be protective against emerging strains detected to date, it expects another dose will be able to boost the vaccine's neutralizing ability.

The company also said it is developing a new Covid-19 booster vaccine to protect against a variant of the coronavirus first spotted in South Africa. The company plans to first test the vaccine in the lab and in a small, Phase 1 clinical trial in the US.

'Out of an abundance of caution and leveraging the flexibility of our mRNA platform, we are advancing an emerging variant booster candidate against the variant first identified in the Republic of South Africa into the clinic to determine if it will be more effective to boost titers against this and potentially future variants,' Moderna's CEO Stephane Bancel said.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 490011

Reported Deaths: 6618
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1016821593
Ramsey43388811
Dakota36714394
Anoka33545392
Washington22247262
Stearns18847202
St. Louis14915265
Scott13445107
Wright12635116
Olmsted1187890
Sherburne879474
Carver790941
Clay696288
Rice678691
Blue Earth604435
Kandiyohi582274
Crow Wing523682
Chisago502945
Otter Tail487171
Benton451890
Winona419749
Mower411931
Douglas395068
Goodhue390169
Nobles387347
Polk345363
McLeod341950
Beltrami339151
Morrison328147
Itasca315346
Becker315143
Lyon314045
Isanti310056
Steele304311
Carlton300649
Freeborn287124
Pine283616
Nicollet263341
Todd250330
Brown249137
Le Sueur238620
Mille Lacs230047
Cass221424
Waseca211217
Meeker208534
Martin190829
Wabasha18733
Roseau181017
Hubbard161041
Houston158214
Dodge15464
Renville152940
Redwood147127
Fillmore14029
Pennington139816
Chippewa137035
Cottonwood136120
Wadena131520
Faribault125017
Aitkin119233
Sibley118310
Watonwan11838
Rock116314
Kanabec109120
Pipestone101924
Yellow Medicine97817
Murray9548
Jackson94710
Swift87818
Pope8185
Marshall78715
Stevens7478
Lake74318
Clearwater72014
Lac qui Parle68816
Wilkin67711
Koochiching62111
Big Stone5173
Lincoln5122
Grant4928
Norman4808
Unassigned45368
Mahnomen4437
Kittson41121
Red Lake3615
Traverse3115
Lake of the Woods2231
Cook1190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 337836

Reported Deaths: 5500
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk52116562
Linn19519317
Scott17180213
Black Hawk14973294
Woodbury13858214
Johnson1317875
Dubuque12452196
Dallas1023593
Pottawattamie9899146
Story965445
Warren515176
Clinton502884
Cerro Gordo501483
Webster495888
Sioux480469
Marshall465473
Des Moines428661
Muscatine426493
Buena Vista413337
Wapello4059110
Jasper388167
Plymouth369178
Lee354653
Marion341772
Jones285355
Henry279837
Bremer270655
Carroll266848
Crawford253435
Boone244830
Benton241554
Washington239247
Mahaska215846
Jackson210339
Dickinson204340
Tama203165
Kossuth198655
Delaware186340
Clay184525
Winneshiek183729
Fayette179535
Page178119
Buchanan178029
Wright174531
Hamilton173942
Cedar172923
Hardin170339
Harrison167870
Clayton160154
Butler159331
Mills148520
Floyd148141
Poweshiek148030
Cherokee146336
Lyon145741
Allamakee144948
Madison143318
Iowa140723
Hancock138030
Grundy132530
Winnebago130531
Calhoun129711
Cass129751
Jefferson128534
Appanoose123447
Louisa122644
Mitchell120740
Chickasaw119915
Union119331
Sac118818
Shelby117634
Emmet115440
Humboldt113925
Franklin109719
Guthrie109728
Palo Alto101721
Howard99722
Unassigned9790
Montgomery97036
Clarke95220
Keokuk92429
Monroe90028
Ida82132
Adair81630
Pocahontas80919
Davis76623
Monona76527
Greene73110
Lucas72321
Osceola68315
Worth6678
Taylor64112
Decatur5719
Fremont5619
Van Buren53818
Ringgold50720
Audubon4769
Wayne47521
Adams3194
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