On Monday, a hospital in Israel announced that it is part of the trial for the new COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna, which is meant to combat different variants.
Countering new variants
Both Pfizer Inc. and Moderna have been racing to develop coronavirus vaccines that are updated to act against the new variants of COVID-19 that keep popping up. The vaccines that are currently in use had been developed for targeting the original strain of the virus and not the variants that came after.
The Sheba Medical Center in Israel announced that they were participating in Moderna’s trial for its new vaccine, along with several other international hospitals, to test the company’s shot. Upon making the trial announcement, the pharmaceutical giant said that the Sheba Medical Center had been pioneering researching during the pandemic.
Sheba Medical Center
The top vaccine researcher at Sheba Medical Center is Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay and her studies have been followed closely all over the world. She stated that the hospital regarded it as its professional duty to continue leading global research in this area.
She said that the coronavirus waves were still occurring all over the world and the challenge was developing vaccines that could address the different variants in order to allow people to continue their lives alongside the virus.
According to experts, the development and testing of variant-proof vaccines would become a game-changer in terms of dealing with the pandemic. Prof. Michael Edelstein, who is an epidemiologist at the Bar Ilan University and not a part of the study at Sheba, said that the trial was undoubtedly a vital step.
He said that it was exciting because this could result in a bivalent vaccine that will be able to defend people against an extensive number of COVID variants. He added that it was the next step in the fight against the pandemic because vaccines should be able to respond to the newly-emerging variants. He went on to say that it was good for Israel to be playing a key role in the process.
Edelstein said that the new vaccine has an Omicron variant that not only works with the vaccine for the original variant, but is also handy in targeting the different variants of the Omicron that have popped up so far.
Rogev-Yochay disclosed that there would be three group of volunteers in the new project. The first group will get two doses of the vaccine, the second will get the new vaccine as well as a placebo and the final group will get two shots of the original Moderna COVID vaccine.
They will study the effectiveness of the new vaccine by monitoring the infection levels of the group. The Chief Medical Officer of Moderna, Paul Burton said that they were pleased to have Sheba Medical Center participating in their trial, as it would help them get more data on the durability, effectiveness and safety of their bivalent vaccine. He said that the Israeli hospital had been a pioneer in COVID-19 research and they were grateful for its participation.