COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna effective against variants of concern

New data shows that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine protects against variants of concern and reduces breakthrough infection risk.

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine vials [Credit: Giovanni Cancemi/].

[Credit: Giovanni Cancemi/].

Moderna has highlighted a new analysis suggesting that their COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective against circulating variants of concern, including in a vaccine effectiveness study conducted in partnership with Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) and in a separate recent publication by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Additionally, Moderna shared a new analysis of follow-up through one year in the Phase III COVE study, suggesting a lower risk of breakthrough infection in participants vaccinated more recently (median 8 months after first dose) compared to participants vaccinated last year (median 13 months after first dose). The company hope that these findings will support a mRNA-1273 (now COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna) booster dose.

In one of the studies conducted at KPSC, an analysis of 352,878 recipients of two doses of mRNA-1273 matched to 352,878 unvaccinated individuals found a vaccine effectiveness of 87 percent against COVID-19 diagnosis and 96 percent against COVID-19 hospitalisation. Importantly, the study was conducted during the emergence of the Delta variant, which was identified in 47 percent of cases in fully vaccinated individuals.

Recent data published by the US CDC examined vaccine efficacy across nine states based on 32,867 medical encounters including 14,636 hospitalisations between June and August 2021, during the time when the Delta variant became predominant in the US. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine efficacy against COVID-19 urgent care or emergency visit was 92 percent and against hospitalisation was 95 percent at a median of 96 and 106 days respectively after vaccination. Across all age groups, vaccine efficacy was reported to be significantly higher among Moderna vaccine recipients than other COVID-19 vaccines.

Moderna is sharing a new analysis of the incidence of breakthrough COVID-19 cases among vaccinated participants in the open-label portion of the Phase III COVE study. The goal of the analysis is to quantify the impact of waning immunity in the face of the Delta surge in the US. The analysis compared 14,746 participants initially randomised to mRNA-1273 against 11,431 participants initially randomised to placebo who were crossed over and vaccinated following Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

In the analysis, 88 breakthrough cases of COVID-19 occurred in the more recently vaccinated group compared to 162 cases in the group vaccinated last year. The reduction in incidence rates for participants vaccinated more recently compared to participants vaccinated last year was 36 percent.

“It is promising to see clinical and real-world evidence adding to the growing body of data on the effectiveness of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine,” stated Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna. “The increased risk of breakthrough infections in COVE study participants who were vaccinated last year compared to more recently illustrates the impact of waning immunity and supports the need for a booster to maintain high levels of protection. We hope these findings are helpful as health authorities and regulators continue to assess strategies for ending this pandemic.”