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Moderna: 'Encouraging' Data Shows Its COVID Vaccine Remains Protective Against Delta Variant

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) -- Moderna says "encouraging" new data backs up the belief that its two-dose COVID vaccine protects against emerging strains of the coronavirus, including the Delta variant.

The Cambridge biotech company said Tuesday that in new studies, its vaccine shows neutralizing activity on several new variants. The company said a study of eight participants taken one week after receiving their second dose showed protection against the variants.

The Delta variant now accounts for the vast majority of new cases in the United Kingdom.

"As we seek to defeat the pandemic, it is imperative that we are proactive as the virus evolves. We remain committed to studying emerging variants, generating data and sharing it as it becomes available. These new data are encouraging and reinforce our belief that the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine should remain protective against newly detected variants," Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement. "These findings highlight the importance of continuing to vaccinate populations with an effective primary series vaccine."

Moderna said it is working on a "clinical development strategy" to keep up with the variants as the coronavirus evolves. The U.S. recently purchased another 200 million doses of the vaccine, which could serve as booster shots or be used to vaccinate children once approved by federal regulators.

Studies have suggested that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine is 88% effective against symptomatic illness from the Delta variant.

Moderna also announced Tuesday that its vaccine has been granted emergency use authorization by the government in India, where the Delta variant originated.

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