Coronavirus / Moderna expects its vaccine to protect against UK COVID-19 variant

Zoom News : Dec 25, 2020, 08:57 AM
London: Coronavirus vaccine maker Moderna Inc said on Wednesday it expects that the immunity induced by its vaccine would be protective against the coronavirus variants reported in the UK.

The company said it plans to run tests to confirm the vaccine's activity against any strain.

Moderna's comments came amid the British government's plan to place huge swathes of England under its strictest COVID-19 restrictions as a highly infectious virus variant sweeps the country.

The company said it expects its vaccine, which was recently granted the US emergency use authorization, to be protective against the UK variant based on data to date.

"We have already tested sera from animals and humans vaccinated with the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine against a number of previous variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that have emerged since the first outbreak of the pandemic and found our vaccine to remain equally effective," Moderna said.

The US-based company said it would be performing additional tests of the vaccine in the coming weeks to confirm its expectation.

On December 19, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced that the newly-identified strain of the virus may be up to 70 per cent more transmissible. According to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the new variant was "out of control".

A spike in COVID-19 infections has forced the UK to enforce a new stringent, stay-at-home lockdown.

Under the new lockdown rules, non-essential shops and businesses will be closed.

Although Johnson and his scientific advisors believe vaccines will still be effective, and the new strain is not more deadly or more serious in terms of the illness caused, he said on Saturday the government had to take urgent action.

The number of cases in England has soared in the last two weeks because of the virus variant.