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U.S. begins testing Moderna’s Covid vaccine booster shots for variant from South Africa

  • The National Institutes of Health has started testing a new coronavirus vaccine from Moderna designed to protect against a problematic variant first found in South Africa.
  • The phase one trial will test how safe and effective the new shot is against the variant in approximately 210 healthy adults.
  • Researchers expect the trial to be fully enrolled by the end of April.

A nurse draws a Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, at East Valley Community Health Center in La Puente, California, March 5, 2021.Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

The National Institutes of Health has started testing a new coronavirus vaccine from Moderna designed to protect against a problematic variant first found in South Africa, the agency said Wednesday.

The phase one trial, led and funded by the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will test how safe and effective the new shot is against the variant — known as B.1.351 — in roughly 210 healthy adults, according to the agency.

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The trial, which has already administered some of its first shots, will include approximately 60 adults who participated in Moderna's original Covid-19 vaccine trials last year, as well as approximately 150 people who haven't received any Covid-19 vaccine yet, according to a statement.

The returning participants who were given two shots of the original vaccine 28 days apart at varying doses early last year will split up.

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