SA has 25,065 active cases of Covid-19

South Africa it counts 25,065 active cases of Covid-19, out of a total of 3,973,086 cases reported, 3,846,597 recovered and 101,424 deaths.

In the last 24 hours, 23,814 tests were conducted, of which 2,093 were new cases of Covid-19 in the identification phase, which represents a positivity rate of 8.8%. The country also reported 27 deaths, including 8 in the past 24-48 hours.

Moderna announces positive results for Omicron vaccine

On Wednesday, US biotech company Moderna announced positive results for a new vaccine that targets both the original Covid-19 strain and the Omicron, and sees the shot as its “prime candidate” for a booster in this case.

The so-called “bivalent” vaccine was tested in a study of 814 adults and was shown to produce 1.75 times more neutralizing antibodies specific to Omicron, which have the power to prevent infections, than Moderna’s original Spikevax vaccine.

All participants previously received three doses of Spikevax, so just over half went on to receive a fourth dose of bivalent injection while the rest received another dose of Spikevax. The antibody levels were tested one month later.

The group that got the new vaccination also received slightly more protection from the ancestral Covid-19 strain than Spikevax, although the original Covid has long since disappeared from circulation.

“We are thrilled,” said Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel in a statement, adding that he anticipated that this vaccine would be the company’s top candidate for authorization as a booster this fall.

“We want to be ready for shipment as early as August,” he added to investors in a call.

The findings were widely welcomed by experts, who agreed that Moderna’s vaccine is now a favorite as a booster, although some have given a note of caution.

“We won’t know about the clinical results until the end of the year,” tweeted Eric Topol, a physician and scientist at the Scripps Research Translational Institute. The study deals only with antibody levels, which are thought to serve as a useful proxy for a vaccine’s performance, but cannot make accurate predictions.

Breakthrough infections have increased since Omicron became dominant in late 2021, with vaccine manufacturers hoping to restore efficacy to previous levels, even as first-generation vaccines continue to protect well against serious illness and death.

Further reporting by the AFP

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