Moderna is working on a booster shot for its two-dose COVID-19 vaccine that will be made available by the fall to help avoid another surge of new cases over the winter.
CEO Stephane Bancel said on CNBC that the company “wants to make sure there are boost vaccines available in the fall so that we protect people as we go into the next fall and winter season in the U.S.”
Last month, the National Institutes of Health began testing several versions of boosters from Moderna that could potentially be used to combat variants of COVID-19, including the South African strain that has flummoxed researchers and healthcare professionals since it started spreading.
If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the booster can be cleared for emergency use without having to go through lengthy clinical trials beforehand.
“We believe especially people at high risk should get a boost in the fall, and we want to make sure we have the best possible boost," Bancel said.
Bancel said that Moderna hopes to submit data to officials within a few months, stating that “our goal is to work really hard to get this ready before the fall.”
“I anticipate in the next year or so, we’re going to see a lot of variants,” he said. “But as more and more people get vaccinated or naturally infected, the pace of the variant is going to slow down and the virus is going to stabilize as you see with flu.”
According to Bancel, Moderna is working to have a vaccine that could potentially protect against COVID and the seasonal flu.
“What we’re trying to do at Moderna actually is to get a flu vaccine in the clinic this year and then combine our flu vaccine to our COVID vaccine so you only have to get one boost at your local CVS store,” he said.
“Every year, that would protect you to the variant of concern against COVID and the seasonal flu strain. We believe we can get to a high efficacy flu vaccine.”
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