Renowned American biotech firm, Moderna, has reportedly announced that it is currently working with a number of government scientists in South Africa to study the efficacy of an experimental booster dose designed specifically to target the South African strain of the coronavirus.
The biotech enterprise has seemingly scaled up its global COVID-19 vaccine production goal for 2021 by over 100 million doses. It has also produced the raw materials needed for a booster dose designed to tackle the new strain of the coronavirus that was first discovered in South Africa. According to Moderna, the new strain of the virus might be more resistant to current vaccines.
For additional study, the new dose, code-named the mRNA-1273.351, was recently shipped to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, a U.S. government research facility that helped Moderna develop its current vaccine.
The proposed vaccine development effort could make the American biotech the first vaccine manufacturer to have completed the laboratory research work to create a new jab that tackles the new variants of the virus that emerged at the end of 2020 and have since spread rapidly throughout the globe.
According to reports, the company is actively experimenting with several different methods to potentially combat the new variants, which includes an additional booster dose that targets the South Africa variant specifically, a combined booster dose that mixes its existing vaccine shots with the new experimental dose, and an additional booster shot administered on top of its existing two-dose vaccine.
The company has also stated that it would also assess the efficacy of using the experimental shot as well as the combined shot as a form of primary vaccination against the virus, and using a two-dose regime for individuals who have not received a shot yet and have also not been infected.
The South Africa variant of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly worldwide, with the United States recording its first case back in January. According to official data, the variant has since been found in 14 different states.