US biotech firm Moderna is set to begin testing a new version of its Covid-19 vaccine that is specifically designed to target an emerging variant of the coronavirus that was first reported in South Africa.
Moderna said that it has shipped doses of its variant-specific shot to the US National Institutes of Health for testing. This development is part of Moderna's efforts to counter Covid strains that are circulating and to get ahead of the constantly mutating virus.
'We look forward to beginning the clinical study of our variant booster and are grateful for the NIH's continued collaboration to combat this pandemic,' said CEO Stephane Bancel.
The South African variant is considered the most dangerous because it evades some of the blocking action of antibodies that target the older coronavirus strain.