Moderna says its vaccine works against new variants

Moderna said on Monday it believes its COVID-19 vaccine protects against new variants found in Britain and South Africa.

The new variants have created some concern that mutations in the virus may make the vaccines less effective.

The company said it found no reduction in the antibody response against the variant found in Britain but the South Africa variant caused a reduced response.

Moderna is testing a third booster shot to be sure but believes its two-doses provide protection for at least a year.

Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College said he was only mildly concerned that the vaccine wouldn't be protective:

"Because the level of virus neutralizing antibody is still quite high, that six-fold reduction should not interfere with protection, although potentially it could cause a slight reduction."

Moderna said the new booster shot could be made available in the future if evidence were to emerge that protection declined.

Meanwhile, Pfizer and BioNTech have also said tests showed their vaccine is effective against the variant found in Britain, but have not yet disclosed results against the South Africa variant.

The variant that was first found in Britain in September has caused a massive surge in cases there and elsewhere.

It's been found in more than a dozen U.S. states. and is expected to be the dominant variant there within six weeks.

Video Transcript

- Moderna said on Monday it believes its COVID-19 vaccine protects against new variants found in Britain and South Africa. The new variants have created some concern that mutations in the virus may make the vaccines less effective. The company said it found no reduction in the antibody response against the variant found in Britain, but the South Africa variant caused a reduced response.

Moderna is testing a third booster shot to be sure, but says its two doses provide protection for at least a year. Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College, said he was only mildly concerned that the vaccine wouldn't be protective.

- Because the level of virus neutralizing antibody is still quite high, that's six-fold reduction should not interfere with protection, although potentially it could cause a slight reduction.

- Moderna said the new booster shot could be made available in the future if evidence were to emerge that protection declined. Meanwhile, Pfizer and BioNTech have also said tests showed the vaccine is effective against the variant found in Britain, but have not yet disclosed results against the South Africa variant. The variant was first seen in Britain in September, and caused a massive surge in cases there and elsewhere. It's been found in more than a dozen U.S. states, and is expected to be the dominant variant there within six weeks.