Covid-19 Vaccine Update: Moderna vaccine effective against UK, SA strains and promising Israeli data

Moderna held a conference call to discuss earlier released results on how its vaccine performed against newer variants of Covid-19. Earlier in the day, the Co. had claimed that its vaccine is still effective against the UK and South African variants of the virus.

CEO Stephane Bancel, “we are encouraged by these new data, which reinforce our confidence that the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine should be protective against these newly detected variants”.

“Out of an abundance of caution and leveraging the flexibility of our mRNA platform,” he continued, “we are advancing an emerging variant booster candidate against the variant first identified in the Republic of South Africa into the clinic.”

Moderna's CMO Dr Zaks said that the company is looking at studying a third "booster" shot that would come 6-12 months after the second dose of their original Covid-19 vaccine and no sooner. Zaks said he expects the durability of the protection provided by the first two doses to last at least a year. 

The study

Moderna took blood samples from eight people who had received two doses of the vaccine, and from primates that had also been immunized.

There was no impact on the level of neutralizing antibodies for the B.1.1.7 (UK) variant, meaning the company’s vaccine was equally as effective against the UK variant as the original. But for the South African variant, B.1.351, there was a sixfold reduction in the neutralizing antibody level, though Moderna said this was still above the quantity needed to offer protection shown in earlier tests on primates that were infected on purpose.

Promising data out of Israel

Israel’s Maccabi Health Services showed that out of the 128,600 Israeli participants in a study who had all received their second jab of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, only 20 had tested positive for Covid-19 and none had been hospitalised or even experienced temperatures of above 38.5 degrees Celsius. The news serves as early evidence that mass vaccinations ought to be able to drastically reduce the spread and prevalence of Covid-19, as market participants have been holding out for.

AstraZeneca denies refutes reports of low efficacy

AstraZeneca has come out strongly refuted an earlier report in Handelsblatt claiming that their vaccine only had efficacy of 8% in over 65s. 

The journalist who wrote the article tweeted that "we have confirmed the 8% with multiple sources familiar with the German vaccination policy. Our sources, including members of the government coalition, spoke on the condition of anonymity".

A spokesperson for AstraZeneca made a statement on Monday claiming that the report was "completely incorrect" and referenced the data published by the company back in November which demonstrated that "older adults showed strong immune responses to the vaccine, with 100% of older adults generating spike-specific antibodies after the second dose".


Information on these pages contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Markets and instruments profiled on this page are for informational purposes only and should not in any way come across as a recommendation to buy or sell in these assets. You should do your own thorough research before making any investment decisions. FXStreet does not in any way guarantee that this information is free from mistakes, errors, or material misstatements. It also does not guarantee that this information is of a timely nature. Investing in Open Markets involves a great deal of risk, including the loss of all or a portion of your investment, as well as emotional distress. All risks, losses and costs associated with investing, including total loss of principal, are your responsibility. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of FXStreet nor its advertisers.

Feed news

Take advantage of market volatility with our daily Forex, Crypto and Indices Trade Ideas!

Become Premium!    

Latest Forex News

Latest Forex News

Editors’ Picks

EUR/USD: Bulls target 100-DMA again ahead of Eurozone PMIs

EUR/USD is back on the bid above 1.2000, snapping three straight days of sluggishness. The US dollar has resumed its downtrend, helping the spot to make another attempt towards 1.2050. Eurozone/US PMIs awaited after a non-event ECB.


GBP/USD: Looks to UK Retail Sales, PMI to regain 1.3900

GBP/USD stays mildly bid above 1.3850, as the US dollar retreats across the board. Covid vaccine updates and upbeat UK data outweigh renewed Brexit jitters. Focus shifts to the UK Retail Sales and PMIs.


Bitcoin price falls below $50K as investors rush to exit crypto markets on Biden's tax proposal

Bitcoin price crashed below $50,000 after an announcement revealed that US President Joe Biden could increase capital gains taxes for the rich. The leading cryptocurrency fell in tandem with the US stock market as fears of a potential tax hike loom.

Read more

Gold remains two steps away from $1800 and beyond

Gold (XAU/USD) is attempting a tepid bounce after falling 1% on Thursday amid a sharp recovery staged by the US dollar. Risk-aversion gripped the markets on Bloomberg report that the Biden administration is proposing higher taxes on the wealthy to pay for its social plan.

Gold News

Lagarde cautiousness & Biden's taxes

All market chatter is about Biden's taxes & their impact on shares and cryptos. But let's discuss that ECB decision first-- The economic outlook is improving in Europe, yet you wouldn't know it from Lagarde's Thursday comments after the ECB decision.

Read more