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Moderna Expects Protection From Its COVID-19 Vaccine To Last For At Least One Year

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Overnight, Moderna released some promising results for their COVID-19 vaccine pertaining to how long it will keep people protected.

We're learning Tuesday morning the Moderna vaccine should prevent you from contracting COVID-19 for at least a year.

A doctor at AHN tends to agree.

"What we do know in clinical trials, the vaccine recipients did generate a very high level of protective antibodies that persisted for months and months after vaccination," said Dr. Marc Itskowitz with AHN.

"We can say at least one year of protection is a reasonable prediction. It may be longer than that, but have the wait and see exact duration of immunity."

Moderna's chief medical officer says there is a chance a third shot may be needed, so the company will have to test people to see if the booster will extend protection.

"The good news is if patients require another booster, it's likely it would protect again in the future," said Dr. Itskowitz.

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Right now, the vaccine is given in two doses, about a month apart, and is 94% effective around two weeks after you get the second shot.

Since the vaccine is still so new, Moderna says there's still so much to learn.

But company leaders say they think a third booster shot could work, especially for people who are at higher risk of getting the virus.

While Moderna is still learning more about that, the company is also working on developing vaccines for three other viruses. They are seasonal flu, HIV and the Nipah virus.

"The technology and research had been 20 years in the making. They are optimistic that their platform will work for other viruses," said Itskowitz, making vaccine development even quicker and prevention from viruses like the flu even more effective.

"In their case, this mRNA target is something other viruses share, so hopefully they can stimulate an immune response that would generate protective antibodies," he said.

Moderna plans on starting phase one of clinical trials for these vaccines this year. Once that happens, Dr. Itskowitz says it would likely take 6-12 months before we see data on these trials come back.

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