Moderna study suggests COVID-19 vaccine protects against delta variant, others

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Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine shows promise in protecting against virus variants — including the particularly worrisome delta strain, the drugmaker said Tuesday.

The company said it ran a lab study on the blood of eight people one week after they received their second dose of Moderna’s immunization.

The results indicated that the vaccinated group had produced antibodies against variants of the deadly virus — including India’s highly contagious delta mutation, as well as the country’s kappa variant and South Africa’s beta strain, the Massachusetts-based drugmaker said.

The levels of protection against the variants weren’t immediately clear, but Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said the results are “encouraging.”

“These new data are encouraging and reinforce our belief that the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine should remain protective against newly detected variants,” Bancel said in a statement.

“These findings highlight the importance of continuing to vaccinate populations with an effective primary series vaccine,” he added.

Meanwhile, a study published Monday in the journal Nature suggested mRNA vaccines, produced by Moderna and Pfizer, could provide “persistent” protection against COVID-19 for years — as long as the virus doesn’t mutate too much beyond its current forms, the New York Times reported.

“It’s a good sign for how durable our immunity is from this vaccine,” Ali Ellebedy, an immunologist at Washington University in St. Louis who led the study, told the outlet.

Both studies come as the delta strain has gained traction around the globe — prompting the World Health Organization to announce that it is recommending people wear face masks even if they are fully vaccinated.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled the delta mutation a “variant of concern.”

Still, the public health agency hasn’t echoed the WHO’s concern and still says those who are fully immunized against the coronavirus can almost always leave their masks at home.

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