Moderna has launched two new test studies of coronavirus vaccines.
The coronavirus vaccine, developed by Moderna, protects against the British and South African virus variants, the US company said in a press release.
But at the same time, Moderna also announces another – and less positive – news.
For laboratory tests have shown that the antibodies that the vaccine can cause the body to produce may be up to six times less effective against the South African mutation B.1.351. This may indicate that the mutation may be capable of defrauding the immune system and weakening the vaccine. Something you can read more about here .
Against this background, Moderna is now working on two new vaccine studies.
Tests a third connector
One study examines what it will do for the effect of the vaccine that it be given not just two, but three times.
The second test study is about a new vaccine variant that has been adjusted to the B.1.351 variant. Phase one of the clinical trials is underway here.
One of Moderna’s competitors, Pfizer / BioNTech, has announced that it will be able to produce a new, mutated vaccine in six weeks, but not that it is in the process of doing so. The company’s vaccine has been shown to protect against the British B117 variant.
Speculation about whether a new virus variant would mean that the vaccine was weakened has been buzzing. For viruses mutate by themselves to survive. This is also what is the basis for Moderna’s two new studies.
– We believe that it is imperative that we are proactive as the virus develops, says Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna in the press release.
New, flexible technology
Moderna’s vaccine is based on mRNA technology that has not previously been approved for vaccines. One of the advantages of the new technology is that the mRNA vaccines are flexible and can be adapted to new mutations quite easily.
One replaces the “code” in the vaccine with one that corresponds to the virus, and then the rest of the production chain can remain as it always has been.
Although the vaccine may be relatively quick to develop, it will still require a new authorization before it can be rolled out. In Denmark, the Danish Medicines Agency has announced that such an approval will be faster than a full, new approval, but will still require a number of test studies.
Moderna was the first coronavirus vaccine to be tested on humans as early as March.
Denmark has secured three million doses of Moderna’s vaccines, but the vast majority will arrive no earlier than the second quarter of 2021, because Moderna’s production facilities are still limited.