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Pfizer and BioNTech test third dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna made booster for new variants

Christian Fernsby |
Pfizer and BioNTech said on Thursday they are testing a third dose of their COVID-19 vaccine to better understand the immune response against new variants of the virus.

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The companies believe their current two-dose vaccine will work against the South African variant as well as one found in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. But the studies will allow the vaccine makers to be prepared if and when more protection is necessary, they said.

“The rate of mutations in the current virus is higher than expected,” Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten said in an interview.

“It’s a reasonable probability that we would end up with regular boosts. And for potent vaccines, it may be that you need to do a strain change every few years, but not necessarily every year.”

Moderna Inc says it is working with US government scientists to study an experimental booster shot that targets a concerning new variant of the coronavirus, and has raised its global Covid-19 vaccine production goal for this year by 100 million doses.

The US biotech company has produced raw material for a booster shot aimed at addressing the virus variant first found in SA that may be more resistant to existing vaccines, it said. It has shipped the vaccine to the US National Institutes of Health, which helped develop Moderna's current vaccine, for additional study.


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