Moderna's Data Raise Hopes for COVID-19 Vaccine Durability - COVID-19 Clinical Trial
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Moderna’s Data Raise Hopes for COVID-19 Vaccine Durability

Antibody levels stayed elevated in the 90 days after people received the second dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, raising hopes that the prophylactic can provide protection for one year.With Moderna and Pfizer, in partnership with BioNTech, showing mRNA vaccines provide protection against symptomatic COVID-19 in the short term, attention has turned to durability. The full picture of the durability of protection will only become clear over time, but immunogenicity data from the phase 1/2 trial of Moderna’s mRNA-1273 offer encouragement.

In a letter to The New England Journal of Medicine, scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and other research centers presented updated data on 34 people who received the 100-μg dose of mRNA-1273 in the early-phase trial. The phase 3 trial used the same 100-μg dose. The researchers tracked a slight decline in levels of binding and neutralizing antibodies over the 90 days after the administration of the second dose. However, the geometric mean titers for both types of antibody remained above the median of a panel of 41 convalescent COVID-19 patients. The median time from diagnosis of contributors to the convalescent panel was 34 days. Researchers are yet to show what immune characteristics an individual needs to be protected against the coronavirus, limiting our ability to infer the real-world consequences of the antibody increases associated with any vaccine. However, the authors of the NEJM letter said the data show mRNA-1273 “has the potential to provide durable humoral immunity.” Analysts concurred with that assessment.     

Lexaria Posts Data on Enhancing oral Antiviral Delivery

Lexaria Bioscience has released preclinical data on technology intended to enhance oral delivery of antiviral drugs. The data cover the use of application of DehydraTECH to HIV drugs, but Lexaria is also exploring its use in the enhancement of antivirals against the pandemic coronavirus.  DehydraTECH is designed to improve the bioavailability of lipophilic compounds. The process entails combining a compound with fatty acids through a dehydration synthesis reaction. In doing so, Lexaria thinks it can increase intestinal absorption and cut metabolism by the liver, thereby enabling more of the drug to reach its target when given orally. 

The idea is underpinned by evidence of the preferential absorption of fatty acids in the gut. Lexaria has previously claimed the technology can increase intestinal absorption by up to 10 times and cut onset of action to as few as 15 minutes. To assess the applicability of DehydraTECH to antiviral drugs, Lexaria formulated protease inhibitor darunavir and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor efavirenz using its technology. Darunavir and efavirenz are HIV drugs sold in branded forms as, respectively, Prezista and Sustiva by Johnson & Johnson and Bristol Myers Squibb. Darunavir is extensively metabolized by the liver and sufferers from low bioavailability when given as a single agent. 

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