Those are the adjectives Emory University researcher Mehul Suthar used to describe the immunity levels seen just after the second dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.
That is, neutralizing antibodies to the virus strain the vaccine was designed to handle, which is the only one that was circulating at the time of its development: the one from Wuhan.
Against the British or Kent variant – B.1.1.7 – Suthar is betting Moderna’s vaccine and others will do quite well.
Suthar said the question becomes whether normal-over-time reductions in antibody levels with current COVID-19 vaccines will leave hosts open to reinfection by variants with ‘escape antibody’ mutations.
Also unclear – and under study – is whether a booster of the same vaccine formulation will do the trick against variants or whether the vaccine would need readjustment to thwart a specific mutation.
Suthar said mask-wearing, to mitigate the spread and transmission of COVID-19, is key to slowing down the emergence of new variants
“Because of the rates of transmission and spread of this virus, this has just allowed this virus to test mutation space,” he said, “To figure out what works best for that virus to infect, replicate, transmit.”