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Moderna Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine Works On Variants, But Plans Booster For South African Strain

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – Moderna said new research shows its COVID-19 vaccine does work on variants of the virus from the United Kingdom and South Africa. But, "out of an abundance of caution," the Cambridge company will develop a booster shot for the South African strain.

"We are encouraged by these new data, which reinforce our confidence that the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine should be protective against these newly detected variants," Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement Monday.

"Out of an abundance of caution and leveraging the flexibility of our mRNA platform, we are advancing an emerging variant booster candidate against the variant first identified in the Republic of South Africa into the clinic to determine if it will be more effective to boost titers against this and potentially future variants."

Both the South African and U.K. variants spread faster and are more infectious forms of the virus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Chief Medical Advisor to President Biden, told CBS This Morning Monday that the South African strain is clearly "different and more ominous than the one in the U.K."

There have been two cases of the U.K. variant in Massachusetts, but none so far of the South African strain.

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