Moderna Says Its Vaccine’s Protection Doesn’t Wane After 6 Months
The potent protection offered by Moderna’s Covid vaccine does not wane in the first six months after the second dose, according to a statement with few scientific details the company released Thursday morning ahead of its call for results.
The results could reassure the 63 million Americans who received two doses of the Moderna vaccine, especially as the super-contagious Delta variant continues to spread across the country.
The news can also inform the global debate about when – or if – those vaccinated may need a booster. Germany, Israel, France and Britain have all decided to give additional injections to vulnerable populations – such as the elderly or people with weakened immune systems or both – to boost their immunity to an increase in cases due to the Delta variant. The Biden administration is considering a similar strategy.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization called for a three-month moratorium on boosters. The group urged health officials to focus instead on immunizing 10 percent of people in all countries.
Moderna’s data comes from a new analysis of its clinical trial, which began in late July 2020 and recruited a total of 30,000 volunteers. In November, the company announced that the vaccine had an impressive 94.1% efficacy. That number hasn’t changed much after six months, the company reported.
“We are happy that our Covid-19 vaccine shows lasting efficacy of 93% over six months, but recognize that the Delta variant is a significant new threat, so we must remain vigilant,” said Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna. in the statement.
The announcement lacked important information, such as the end date of the study. It is not clear if this continued in recent months when the Delta variant became dominant.
In June, Moderna published details of an experiment in which its researchers tested the antibodies of people who received their vaccine against the Delta variant. They found that the antibodies were moderately less effective at preventing the variant from infecting cells.
Last week, Pfizer and BioNTech released a detailed report on the durability of their own mRNA vaccine after six months. The companies estimated that the vaccine’s effectiveness started at 96.2 percent during the first two months after the second dose. It then declined thereafter, to 83.7% in six months.
But experts have warned that the decline calculated in the Pfizer-BioNTech study may have been a statistical artifact. Chance alone could lead to a different estimate of effectiveness at different times. “I wouldn’t assume a decrease in immunity based on this study alone,” said Maria Deloria Knoll, epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The FDA is expected to give full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next month. Moderna applied for final approval of its vaccine on June 1 and plans to complete its submission in August.
Moderna said in his statement that in laboratory experiments with human blood cells, the booster injections increased the number of antibodies against the coronavirus, suggesting that if his vaccine lost protection in the coming months, a booster would strengthen. protection. Moderna’s clinical trials have also shown strong antibody responses after booster injections, the company said.
On a call for results last week, Pfizer said its booster raised antibodies above their original level. Both studies have not yet been published in a scientific journal.
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