Moderna Inc says its vaccine is more than 90 percent effective at protecting against COVID-19 six months after the second dose.

In updated data from its phase III clinical trial published on Tuesday, the company also said its jab is more than 95 percent effective against severe disease 24 weeks after receiving the final dose.

The new data brings Moderna closer to filing for full approval with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The vaccine was approved for emergency use in those aged 18 and older in December 2020 but with just two months of safety data. 

Although the level of efficacy is slightly lower than the 94.5 percent reported last year, the data show the vaccine provides long-term protection.

New data from Moderna's phase III clinical trial showed its vaccine is 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection six months after the second dose. Pictured: A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in New York City, January 2021

New data from Moderna's phase III clinical trial showed its vaccine is 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection six months after the second dose. Pictured: A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in New York City, January 2021

New data from Moderna’s phase III clinical trial showed its vaccine is 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection six months after the second dose. Pictured: A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in New York City, January 2021

The shot was also more than 95% at preventing severe disease six months out, as the U.S. vaccination campaign continue to ramp up

The shot was also more than 95% at preventing severe disease six months out, as the U.S. vaccination campaign continue to ramp up

The shot was also more than 95% at preventing severe disease six months out, as the U.S. vaccination campaign continue to ramp up

The updated data comes after a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine by a team from Duke University showed antibodies generated by the Moderna vaccine were still present six months after the final dose.

These are very similar to findings reported by Pfizer-BioNTech which uses similar technology to their vaccine. 

The new data looked at 900 cases of COVID-19 reported among Moderna’s late-stage clinical trial participants.

However, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company did not specify how many of those cases were in vaccine recipients and how many were in the placebo group. 

Moderna is still running several vaccine trials including on children aged 17 and younger and testing vaccine booster.

The trial involving children between ages 12 to 17 is now fully enrolled with about 3,000 participants in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the trial of those from six months to 11 years old is currently enrolling and is expected to be capped at 6,750 participants in the U.S. and Canada.  

Additionally, earlier this month, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) began early-stage clinical trials testing a booster shot of Moderna Inc’s coronavirus vaccine to see if it provides better protection against the highly contagious variant from South Africa.

Approximately 210 healthy adult volunteers will be enrolled at four clinical research sites in the Atlanta, Cincinnati, Nashville and Seattle areas.

In the new study, volunteers will receive three types of booster shots, which are modified versions of Moderna’s original vaccine.

One-third of participants will receive 50 micrograms (µg) of the booster candidate, which has been dubbed mRNA-1273.351.

Another-third will receive a higher dose, 100 µg, of the candidate.

The last group will be given a shot called mRNA-1273.211, which combines Moderna’s original vaccine and the booster shot in one dose.

The updated data comes after a study showed antibodies generated by the Moderna vaccine were still present six months after the final dose (above)

The updated data comes after a study showed antibodies generated by the Moderna vaccine were still present six months after the final dose (above)

The updated data comes after a study showed antibodies generated by the Moderna vaccine were still present six months after the final dose (above)

Researchers will evaluate the safety of the booster as well as whether or not it is able to induce an immune response.

They will also look at potential side effects including redness and pain at the injection site, fever, headache, fatigue and muscle aches.

‘The Moderna team continues to make important progress with our COVID-19 Vaccine,’ said CEO Stéphane Bancel in a statement.

‘We are looking forward to having the clinical data from our variant-specific booster candidates, as well as clinical data from the Phase 2/3 study of our COVID-19 Vaccine in adolescents, 

‘The new preclinical data on our variant-specific vaccine candidates give us confidence that we can proactively address emerging variants. Moderna will make as many updates to our COVID-19 vaccine as necessary until the pandemic is under control.’