Moderna seeks to test Covid-19 booster injections one year after initial vaccination

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One of the boxes with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is ready to ship to the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Mississippi, U.S., December 20, 2020.

Paul Sancya | Reuters

Moderna plans to test a booster of its Covid-19 vaccine one year after the initial two-dose vaccination, as the duration of protection against the new vaccines is still unclear.

The biotech company plans to start the trial in July, according to a company presentation this week. Its clinical trial sites have already started contacting participants in its previous studies, according to an email shared by one of those people.

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“From what we’ve seen so far, I think we expect the vaccination to last at least a year,” Moderna chief medical officer Dr Tal Zaks told investors and analysts at the JPMorgan Healthcare conference. “To the extent that you need a reminder, we’ll make a recommendation based on the data, and that will require us to get the data.

The first participants in Moderna’s human clinical trials received their injections in mid-March; a second was given four weeks later. Because previous trials tested multiple doses of the vaccine, those who received doses lower than ultimately allowed – 100 micrograms – would receive boosters sooner, while those on 100 micrograms or more would receive their booster annually, according to one. e-mail to participants.

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The currently scheduled booster is the same version of the vaccine that is on the market, but Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said it may be necessary in the years to come to adjust the vaccine to cover new variants.

“I think it will become a market like the flu,” he told TBEN. Moderna recently launched a seasonal flu vaccination program.

Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine booster study will assess both the safety and the amount of immune response generated by an additional injection one year later, Bancel said at this week’s conference.

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