Pharmaceutical company Moderna has said its COVID-19 vaccine should be effective against the British and South African strains of the virus.
The company says it's going to start testing an additional 'booster dose' of its mRNA-based vaccine to see if it further boosts the effectiveness against the South African variant.
The emergence of the two variants - both believed to be more transmissible than existing strains - had led to concerns about whether vaccines would be effective against them.
However, Pfizer has said early data has show its vaccine is effective against the British strain - and now Moderna has also published promising results.
The company's CEO Stréphane Bancel said: "We are encouraged by these new data, which reinforce our confidence that the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine should be protective against these newly detected variants.
“Out of an abundance of caution and leveraging the flexibility of our mRNA platform, we are advancing an emerging variant booster candidate against the variant first identified in the Republic of South Africa into the clinic to determine if it will be more effective to boost titers against this and potentially future variants.”
Their study showed that the British strain causes 'no significant impact' for the vaccine's efficacy.
While there was a more substantial impact when it comes to the South African variant, the firm nonetheless said the efficacy remains "above levels that are expected to be protective".
The two-dose Moderna jab began to be used here in Ireland earlier this month, although there are lower supplies available than the Pfizer vaccine.