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Tweaked COVID Vaccines In Testing Aim To Fend Off Variants

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Cole Smith receives a Moderna variant vaccine shot from clinical research nurse Tigisty Girmay at Emory University's Hope Clinic, on Wednesday afternoon, March 31, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Smith, who received Moderna's original vaccine a year ago in a first-stage study, said returning wasn’t a tough decision. “The earlier one, it was a great success and, you know, millions of people are getting vaccinated now. ... If we’re helping people with the old one, why not volunteer and help people with the new one?” (AP Photo/Ben Gray)

New versions of COVID-19 vaccines are now being tested in case they ever are needed to protect against mutated versions of the virus. The vaccines being rolled out across the U.S. offer strong protection, even against some of the variants becoming more common. But viruses constantly evolve, and the world is in a race to vaccinate millions and tamp down the coronavirus before even more mutants emerge.

Researchers, hoping to stay ahead of these changes, are seeing whether tweaked versions of vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer can protect against one worrisome type that emerged in South Africa.

 

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