US 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.
He added that false information and fake news can and does risk many lives and he called on South Africans to work together to build confidence in the vaccine and demonstrate its effectiveness and safety. More than 420,000 Americans are now confirmed to have died from COVID-19 - a figure that's likely a severe undercount.
The tally of vaccine doses are for both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines as of 6:00 a.m. ET on Monday, the agency said. Besides, the US company's vaccine has been approved for use in countries including the US, Canada, and the UK.
So researchers were perhaps even more relieved to hear the company will start development of booster shots tailored to B.1.351 and other variants.
Concerning the South Africa variant, the biotechnology company added said the vaccine generated a weaker immune response, however the body still produces "enough antibodies to be protected".
So, if we do end up discovering - and it definitely remains an "if" at this stage - that we will need updated vaccines, we should have them on the shelf, ready to deploy as early as this Autumn.
That means about 1 in 13 people in the USA have contracted the virus, or about 7.6% of the population.
The UK variant has been discovered in around a dozen USA states so far, including New York, Illinois, and California.
"We are looking forward to launching our new route between NY and Athens, which will offer enhanced connectivity between these two great cities", said Tom Lattig, vice president EMEA sales and distribution of American Airlines.
The CDC has asserted the spread of the U.K. -originated strain has the potential to increase the United States' pandemic trajectory in the coming months, potentially leading to more infections, exacerbating the burden on an already strained health care system and causing more deaths. "It's time we treated it like one", he said on Thursday.
The CDC also says the second dose should be administered as close to the recommended intervals as possible, but if it's not an option, the second dose can be pushed back for up to six weeks.
It said it could not recommend its use during pregnancy or breastfeeding without seeing further safety data.