The American biotechnology company Moderna admitted this Thursday that a third dose of its vaccine against covid-19 will be needed before the end of the year, due to the expected increase in contagions caused by the Delta variant of the new coronavirus.
We believe a reinforcement will likely be needed this fall, particularly due to Delta”, says the manufacturer in a document presenting quarterly results, after, on Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) requested a postponement of the third doses, at least until the end of September, so that poor countries can have vaccines to immunize their population.
Moderna, whose vaccine against covid-19 is administered in two doses at intervals, is being studied a third booster dose, which was given, in the amount of 50 micrograms, to a group of people six months after receiving the second dose. .
According to the first data, published today by the company, the third dose potentiated the levels of neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, which “had significantly decreased” six months after the booster, and surpassed the efficacy obtained in the original clinical trial of the vaccine, in different age groups, especially in those over 65 years of age.
The manufacturer is awaiting the results of a test with a larger dose of 100 micrograms.
According to Modern, “the increased strength of infection resulting from the Delta variant”, more transmissible, the fatigue of preventive sanitary measures and the “seasonal effects”, like spending more time indoors when the summer is over, “will lead to an increase in breakthrough infections in vaccinated people”.
Experts have warned that vaccines against covid-19 prevent serious illness and death, but do not prevent infection or transmission of the virus, even in vaccinated people, so, as a precaution, it is necessary to maintain physical distance, wash hands very well and use mask especially indoors.
Thanks to sales of its vaccine against covid-19, Moderna earned 5.9 billion dollars (4.9 billion euros), according to the document released by the company this Thursday.
Ignoring WHO’s call, France today announced that it intends to move forward in September with administering a third dose to the elderly and other vulnerable people.
Before, Germany had already planned the same measure, also scheduling it for September, as did Spain, still without dates for the vaccine booster.
Earlier, Israel recently began administering the third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to people over 60 to stop infections with the Delta variant.
In Portugal, the drug regulator ruled out on July 23 the need to boost vaccination against covid-19 with an eventual third dose, claiming that, at the time, the available information did not allow for a conclusion on the need and timing of taking it.
However, Infarmed noted that, together with the General Directorate of Health (DGS), it was “to monitor the technical-scientific data as they become available, namely with a view to weighing, in the Vaccination Plan against Covid-19, the possible need for additional doses to the approved scheme for some more vulnerable populations”.
To “cause a possible third dose”, as well as “the development of vaccines adapted to new variants” of the new coronavirus, Portugal has “two contracts stipulated, whose volume of vaccines exceeds 14 million, with the BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna laboratories”, then added the regulator.
The covid-19 pandemic has killed at least 4,247,424 worldwide, among more than 200.1 million infected, according to an updated balance sheet by the AFP news agency based on official data.
In Portugal, since the beginning of the pandemic, in March 2020, 17,422 people have died and 979,987 cases of infection have been registered, according to the latest statistics from the DGS.
According to the WHO, there are four worrisome variants of SARS-CoV-2, with Delta, predominant in several countries, including Portugal, the most contagious.