With concerns rising about new variants of COVID-19, and the currently available vaccines being ineffective against them, American pharmaceutical company Moderna announced on Monday that its vaccine created antibodies that neutralized the COVID-19 variants first discovered in the UK and South Africa.
It said two doses of the vaccine are "expected to be protective against emerging strains", adding the company's study showed the UK variant had "no significant impact" on the vaccine's effectiveness.
However, the study on the vaccine's efficacy against the South African variant showed a six-fold reduction in neutralizing the virus, compared to other variants.
Despite this, the company said its current vaccine is still expected to be effective.
The UK variant has so far appeared in more than 45 countries, while the variant first discovered in South Africa has been reported in more than 20 countries.
Moderna says it will test whether an additional booster dose could help protect against the emerging variants.
Meanwhile, speaking at the virtual World Economic Forum on Monday, the head of the U.S. National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, expressed concerns about delaying administering the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines, as they have decided to do in some parts of the UK.
"I can understand the reason why that is being done but I would be concerned about that because you don't get full efficacy until you get that second dose and if you allow some optimal efficacy you can actually immunologically select more formutations when you do that. So that's the reason why. It may not be the case, but it gets risky and that's the reason why we'd prefer to keep it on the time that the clinical trials said for the two that we deal with in the United States, Moderna and Pfizer."
Moderna specifies that patients should receive a second dose 28 days after the first, while Pfizer recommends 21 days.
In the UK, some people have had to wait as long as 12 weeks.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.