Moderna adapts its vaccine to new variants of covid and introduces a third dose. A new study raises the effectiveness of Pfizer’s injectable to more than 95% at the full dose.
The American biotechnology firm Moderna has released initial data from a small clinical trial after adapting its coronavirus vaccine to the new variants . The study found that a third booster dose improves people’s immune responses against these variants.
“We are encouraged by this new data, which reinforces our confidence that our reinforcement strategy should protect against these newly detected variants,” stressed the company’s CEO, Stephane Bancel.
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The trial screened forty participants for their neutralizing antibody levels six to eight months after receiving the two doses of the initial regimen. A third injection of the original Moderna vaccine or a specific booster improved antibody levels against two important variants, those detected in South Africa and Brazil .
The variant-specific boost worked better than the original injection, producing almost twice as many neutralizing antibodies.
The US drugmaker is also testing a third type of booster, which is a combination of the other two types, and plans to announce its results soon. Neutralizing antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system that are custom designed to bind to a specific structure of a microbe.
In the case of coronavirus, these are its spikey proteins that dot the surface giving it its distinctive corona-like appearance, and binding to these spikes prevents the virus from attaching itself and invading our cells.
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Pfizer, more than 95% effective
It is not the only pharmaceutical company with news. A major study has confirmed the efficacy of anticovid-19 Pfizer vaccine . According to a study conducted in Israel, the largest to date with real-life data, the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine is more than 95% effective against covid-19, but the level of effectiveness drops considerably if you receive just one of both doses.
The study, conducted with the participation of scientists from Pfizer and the Israeli Government, has been published in the medical journal ‘The Lancet’. According to its authors, the data confirm “the public health benefits of a national vaccination program” and that vaccination “has been the main driver of the fall in COVID-19 infections.”
However, they warn that one must be cautious when generalizing these conclusions to other countries because the speed of vaccination programs and the evolution of the pandemic vary from one state to another.
This study is the version published and reviewed by other independent scientists of the first results revealed in March by Pfizer and the Israeli Ministry of Health. It is based on data collected between January 24 and April 3, when 72% of those over the age of 16 (nearly 5 million people) and 90% of those over 65 in Israel had received both doses. of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.
The analysis mainly addresses the efficacy of the vaccine against the British variant (called B.1.1.7), which was predominant in the country. It shows that the vaccine is “highly effective” in those over 16 years of age seven days after the second dose: it protects 95.3% against infections, 97.2% against hospitalizations and 96.7% against death . The levels of protection are similar for those over the age of 85.
But they drop drastically when people have received only one of the two doses: 57.7% against infection, 75.7% against hospitalization and 77% against death in those over 16 years of age. The study “shows the importance of a complete vaccination in adults”, with two doses, the authors estimate.
In addition, according to them, a single dose could also protect less time, especially with the appearance of more resistant variants to the vaccine.