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Moderna Sends 'Booster Shot' For South Africa COVID Variant Into Clinical Trials

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – Moderna said it has sent a COVID vaccine "booster shot" to NIH for clinical trials, the company announced Wednesday.

The shot would target the COVID variant B.1.351, first identified in the Republic of South Africa.

Moderna said early studies show its COVID vaccine is effective against variants of the virus, but it is evaluating booster doses of the vaccine "out of an abundance of caution."

The company said potential strategies include a variant-specific booster shot, a multi-variant booster shot and a third dose of the current vaccine. Moderna said it will test the original vaccine and the booster shot as a two-dose regimen in people without coronavirus antibodies.

"We look forward to beginning the clinical study of our variant booster and are grateful for the NIH's continued collaboration to combat this pandemic," said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna. "As we seek to defeat COVID-19, we must be vigilant and proactive as new variants of SARS-CoV-2 emerge."

Bancel said the company hopes that booster shots can be given in smaller doses to allow.

"Moderna is committed to making as many updates to our vaccine as necessary until the pandemic is under control. We hope to demonstrate that booster doses, if necessary, can be done at lower dose levels, which will allow us to provide many more doses to the global community in late 2021 and 2022 if necessary," she said.

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