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Pfizer and Moderna test COVID-19 vaccines against new strain

Published on 22/12/20 at 11:52am

Pfizer and Moderna have begun testing their COVID-19 vaccines against the new, fast-spreading strain of the virus that was recently identified in the UK and other countries, CNN has reported.

According to the news outlet, Pfizer has said it is producing data on how effectively blood samples from those immunised with its vaccine “may be able to neutralise the new strain from the UK”.

Moderna also said in a statement: “Based on the data to date, we expect that the Moderna vaccine-induced immunity would be protective against the variants recently described in the UK.

“We will be performing additional tests in the coming weeks to confirm this expectation.”

The novel coronavirus has mutated before, and the leading vaccine makers both say their vaccines have worked against previous variations of the virus.

Dr Anthony, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US, told PBS Newshour yesterday that the COVID-19 mutation linked to skyrocketing cases in the UK is most likely already in the US.

He said: “When you see something that is pretty prevalent in a place like the UK, there are also mutations that we're seeing in South Africa, and given the travel throughout the world, I would not be surprised if it's already here.”

News of the new strain in Britain has led dozens of countries across Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas to announce travel bans for the UK. It is not yet known what this mutation means for the pandemic, but the UK’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the new strain is “out of control”.

Meanwhile, doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine have arrived in the US following the FDA’s emergency approval of its use on Friday.

Darcy Jimenez

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