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Moderna Testing Booster To Combat New Variant

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A nurse at Broward Health Medical Center Fort Lauderdale Fla. holds a bottle of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. File

Moderna's update comes after a concerning preliminary study suggested that the South African variant had the ability to escape the neutralization power by antibodies in convalescent plasma, potentially opening the door to weakness in both vaccines and therapeutics.

The studies have been submitted to bioRxiv, a site that allows researchers to make their findings publicly available and receive feedback before they are peer-reviewed and sent to scientific journals. Despite the decrease, the vaccine maintained levels expected to protect vaccine recipients, Moderna said.

"As we seek to defeat the COVID-19 virus, which has created a worldwide pandemic, we believe it is imperative to be proactive as the virus evolves, " said Stéphane Bancel, Moderna's CEO.

If you have not received your first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you will not receive a vaccination at this clinic.

"The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of noncitizens who were physically present within the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe), the Republic of Ireland, and the Federative Republic of Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States, is hereby suspended", the proclamation read in part.

The orders, which include a ban on indoor and outdoor private gatherings, community events, travel, and variants of adult sports, first came into effect last November. "A six-fold reduction in neutralising titers was observed with the B.1.351 variant relative to prior variants". Trump's move was made in conjunction with a new requirement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that all global travelers to the U.S.

South Africa's 501Y.V2 variant is 50% more infectious than the regular strain and has been detected in at least 20 countries.

"The increased transmissibility of the B.1.1.7 variant warrants universal and increased compliance with mitigation strategies, including distancing and masking", the agency said.

USA biotechnology firm Moderna Inc. said Monday that its authorized COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be protective against emerging strains of the novel coronavirus first identified in Britain and South Africa.

"With the pandemic worsening and more contagious variants spreading, this isn't the time to be lifting restrictions on global travel", White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a news briefing.

"These are very good results, and if it continues this way it could even be that the vaccine is more effective than Pfizer thought it would be based on clinical trials", Anat Ekka Zohar, the Maccabi analyst behind the research, told The Times of Israel.

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