You are here: Home » Current Affairs » Coronavirus » News
Business Standard

Moderna announces supply deal with Australia for Covid-19 vaccine, booster

Boston-based pharmaceutical company Moderna announced a new supply agreement with Australia for 25 million doses of its Covid vaccine.

Coronavirus Vaccine | Australia | Coronavirus

Press Trust of India 

moderna, covid, vaccine, pharma, coronavirus, medicine, drugs, medical research, covid, lab
The new RNA-based technology bypasses creating dead viruses. The body uses RNA to give instructions to the DNA to produce antibodies

By Adam Taylor, Griffith University Queensland (Australia), May 16 (The Conversation) Overnight, Boston-based pharmaceutical company Moderna announced a new supply agreement with for 25 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine. The deal includes ten million doses against the original strain of the to be delivered this year. This vaccine has been widely used in countries such as Canada, United States and the United Kingdom under emergency use authorisations granted by these countries and the World Health Organisation. Moderna's deal with also includes 15 million doses of its updated variant booster vaccine candidate, estimated to be delivered in 2022. The agreement is subject to approval by Australia's drug regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), for both the original vaccine and the booster. Moderna expects to submit an application to the TGA shortly. How does Moderna's vaccine work? Moderna's vaccine against the original strain is given as two doses. Both this vaccine, and the updated booster, are mRNA vaccines (like the Pfizer vaccine). The vaccine contains genetic instructions for our cells to make the coronavirus' spike protein. The mRNA is wrapped in an oily shell that protects it from being immediately degraded by the body, and ensures it's delivered into cells after injection. Once in the cell, the mRNA is converted into spike protein that can be recognised by the immune system. Our immune system then builds an immune response against the spike protein, and learns how to fight off the if we encounter it in future. Moderna's vaccine remains stable at -20C, the temperature of a household freezer, for up to six months. It can remain refrigerated at 4C for up to 30 days. As most pharmaceutical logistic companies are capable of storing and transporting products at -20C, it's relatively easy to store and distribute this vaccine. By contrast, Pfizer's mRNA COVID-19 vaccine needs to be stored long-term below -60C, though unopened vials can be stored at freezer temperatures for up to two weeks. Is it safe and effective? Phase 3 clinical trials of the vaccine, with over 30,000 participants, showed 94.1% efficacy at preventing COVID-19 as well as complete protection against severe forms of the disease. Researchers did not identify safety concerns, with the most common side effects being transient pain at the injection site, and headache or tiredness that typically lasted for up to three days. These clinical trials, however, largely occurred prior to the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. These include B.1.1.7, which emerged from the United Kingdom, and B.1.351, first detected in South Africa. Can it protect against variants? Subsequent studies have investigated the potential for these variants to escape the protection offered by Moderna's vaccine. Preliminary studies have identified slight, although not significant, reductions in the protection it offers against the B.1.351 variant, originating in South Africa. In response to this data, Moderna updated its mRNA vaccine formulation to account for the changes in the spike protein present in the B.1.351 variant. In March this year, it started phase 1 and 2 clinical trials to investigate the safety and ability of its variant vaccine to provoke an immune response. Preliminary, preclinical studies suggest vaccination with the variant vaccine was effective at increasing neutralising antibodies against the B.1.351 variant. Preclinical studies also suggest a vaccine containing an equal mix of its original vaccine, and the B.1.351 vaccine, was most effective at providing broad cross-variant protection, including against the P.1 variant that originated in Brazil. In people already fully vaccinated against the original strain, clinical studies demonstrated a booster dose of Moderna's variant vaccine achieved a higher number of neutralising antibodies against the B.1.351 variant, than simply giving a booster dose of Moderna's original strain vaccine. Moderna's vaccines can be rapidly reformulated to target emerging variants. This is largely thanks to the splendour of the mRNA technology, simply requiring the genetic sequence of the virus. It's possible Moderna will be able to update its vaccine to cover future variants of the so we can quickly provide people with protection to emerging strains. Moderna revealed it's in discussions with the federal government about manufacturing its vaccines onshore in This follows news that both Victoria and New South Wales have committed money towards developing mRNA vaccine manufacturing capability. This is a move that would not only further secure Australia's supply of COVID-19 vaccines, but kick start the development of an industry within Australia that has the potential to impact multiple diseases. (The Conversation) AMS 05161229 NNNN

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Sun, May 16 2021. 12:46 IST