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Moderna says vaccine targeting Covid South African variant ‘promising’

Barney Davis
·2-min read
<p>Caroline Nicolls was one of the first people in England to receive the Moderna jab</p> (PA)

Caroline Nicolls was one of the first people in England to receive the Moderna jab

(PA)

Moderna’s early trials of a vaccine targeting the South African Covid variant has produced antibodies in mice, raising hopes of its effectiveness for humans.

The company is the first to produce a vaccine designed specifically for the variant and last night said its pre-clinical trials for both jabs “improved neutralising titers”, meaning that antibodies detected in the blood increased.

Moderna is also developing a multivalent vaccine that combines its original vaccination with the South Africa-specific jab, which the firm says will provide the broadest level of immunity, The Times reported.

Extra surge testing is to take place in a third London borough after a case of the B.1.351 variant originally discovered in South Africa was found, Sadiq Khan said today.

Residents in a “targeted area” within the SE16 postcode in Southwark are now being urged to get tested.

Additional testing sites, some of them mobile, are also being rolled out in Wandsworth and Lambeth where dozens of cases of the mutated virus, which may be more resistant to vaccines, have been identified.

Surge testing outside Lambeth Town Hall yesterdayJeremy Selwyn
Surge testing outside Lambeth Town Hall yesterdayJeremy Selwyn

Mayor of London Mr Khan, said: “Additional testing will be taking place in a targeted area within SE16 in Southwark after a confirmed case of the COVID-19 variant first discovered in South Africa was found.

“It’s vital that all those who are asked to take a PCR test in this area do so, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.”

A 28-year-old solicitor become one of the first people in England to receive the Moderna jab yesterday as part of the mass Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Emily Sanderson received the vaccine at the Sheffield Arena vaccination centre.

28-year-old solicitor Emily Sanderson who has become one of the first people in England to receive the Moderna jabPA
28-year-old solicitor Emily Sanderson who has become one of the first people in England to receive the Moderna jabPA

Ms Sanderson, who has an underlying health condition, was due to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, but this was changed to Moderna, the NHS said.

It comes after UK regulators said that people under the age of 30 should be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying there was a possible link between the jab and “extremely rare” blood clots.

This means people aged 18 to 29 who are offered the jab will be offered the Pfizer or Moderna jab until other vaccines are approved for use.

The Vaccines Taskforce has secured 17 million doses of the Moderna vaccine for the UK – enough for 8.5 million people.

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