Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid-19: Can Moderna vaccine help UAE fight Beta, Delta variants?

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on July 4, 2021

Some doctors, said more ‘real-world’ data is needed to make conclusive statements on the jab’s efficacy against newer variants.

Biotech company Moderna recently said its mRNA Covid-19 vaccine is effective against several variants of the virus. Now that the jab has been approved in the UAE, most healthcare experts are hopeful it could help fight Delta and Beta, the two variants that currently account for the highest number of infections in the UAE.

Some doctors, however, said more ‘real-world’ data is needed to make conclusive statements on the jab’s efficacy against newer variants.

On Sunday, the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) announced the approval of the emergency registration of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine. Prior to the approval, a strict assessment and clinical trials have been conducted.

Dr Prasanna Kumar, critical care specialist and intensive care unit in charge at Medeor Hospital, Dubai, said: “As per the latest studies, it has been found that the Moderna vaccine is highly effective in neutralising the Delta and Delta Plus variants, which are a matter of great concern for the world as many countries affected by these have re-imposed lockdowns. So, the approval for the vaccine in the UAE is heartening.”

As the Delta variant’s transmission rate is higher than the other strains, the primary threat would be the sudden spike in cases. “The use of the vaccine will help us contain the spread and protect the lives of people,” Dr Kumar said.

The UAE authorities recently revealed that the Delta variant is behind 33.9 per cent of infections in the country while Beta is causing 39.2 per cent of positive cases. About 11.3 per cent of infections are attributed to the Alpha variant, based on the findings of the national monitoring system.

Dr Mahesh Netravalkar, a pulmonologist at NMC Specialty Hospital in Al Ain, said: “With Moderna claiming the effectiveness against the new variants, [the approval] is a welcome move taken by UAE authorities.”

Given that the vaccine may also provide long-term immunity, it would help the country achieve herd immunity faster. “Any development in containing the virus will help the country regain its health and economic status,” added Dr Netravalkar.

Dr Abhilash Ramachandran Nair, internal medicine specialist at Aster Hospital, Qusais, said that although Moderna has released some data about its vaccines’ neutralising power against some variants of concern, “we need more real-world effectiveness data on this, to see how effective the vaccine is against the newer variants”.

Medics also advised residents to consult their doctors before taking the jab.

Dr Sweta Adatia, a neurologist and medical director at RAK Hospital, UAE, said: “If we look at trial results, some patients have developed myocarditis and inflammation of the heart. However, this was a minimal number...(Still) this has to be discussed with the doctor before administering the vaccine, particularly when we are talking about Moderna vaccine for patients who have cardiac issues.”


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for over ten years. For Khaleej Times, she covers NRI affairs, civil aviation, and immigration issues among other things. She completed her BA in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008 and is currently pursuing her MA in Leadership and Innovation in Contemporary Media at the American University in Dubai. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves food, and is mom to an over-enthusiastic Labrador retriever. Tweet at her @shootsprintrite.

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