Coronavirus, South Africa Moderna CEO on developing booster shots for South African Covid strain
We’Ve been hearing about b117 and b1351 associated with the uk and south africa and found that against the b117 uk variant, no discernible difference in the immune response against that variant against the south african one. As we have been hearing from experts like dr fauci, there is an impact on the neutralization of the of that variant with the vaccine and declined by six fold. That sounds scary, but modern is saying in this release just now that they still think the antibody levels are high enough to work well against that variant. Nonetheless, they do say they are testing both a booster shot of the current vaccine, as well as working on a a vaccine that could address this variant and moving that into early trials. Now joining us to tell us more about this is modernist ceo, stefan boncell. Stefan thanks for being with us this morning. You know you guys are the first company, i believe to say you are actually working on a new uh vaccine version to address these variants. Tell us about what you found this morning and the decision to do this. Well. Good morning, meg and thank you for having us back so indeed, we announced this morning that we posted last night, a manuscript between the nih team and the modern scientists. Looking at those new variants, especially v117, first found in the uk and b351 first found in south africa, the great news with both varus, we see very high level of antibody.
With a b117 strength from the uk, we basically see the same level of antibody as we saw in the in the strain that has been circulating in the u.s and, as shown in the phase, speed travel leading to the fd authorization. You know very high efficacy, so we feel very good about the the that strain and, as you know, the cdc. I said that that spring will become the dominant strain in the us by march, so that’s, a very good thing, uh for the separate forecast line. We still see a very high level of antibody, it is higher than covalence and sera, but it is indeed lower than the traditional strain in the b117, and so we believe a vaccine will be protective in the short term. What is unknowable right now is what will happen in six months in 12 months, especially to the elderly, because, as you know, they have a weaker immune system and the immunity might go down over time and because of that unknown and madonna wants to always stay at The forefront of a fight against kobe 19, we decided to take into the clinic out of an abundance of caution. A new vaccine called mrna 1273.351 for the south africa strain that’s, going to be testing the clinic very quickly. Our goal and we’re going to have to have a good alignment with the fda soon, but our goal would be to run a very quick boost, a single dose into potentially the phase.
One study that, as you know, was something last march in the u.s, so it will be kind of at the one year anniversary, we’ll run that boost and get that data to look at the neutralizing, antibody and we’re going to do that both for mrna 1273. The current authorized product, but also for mrna 1273.351 for the new stream and then we’re, going to expand that to the phase three to boost the facebook participant again, a single dose to get that data like this. If in the fall, there is a need, because of waning immunity into the elderly, to put on the market that sprained, we will be ready, we cannot be behind. We cannot fall behind this virus. We just wanted to be cautious not for now, but for the future.