Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel on Wednesday warned that the coronavirus is "not going away" and the world will have to live with it "forever."
“We are going to live with this virus, we think, forever,” Bancel said.
Bancel made the remark while speaking at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, CNBC reports. He said health officials will always have to be on the lookout for new variants of COVID-19 in order for new vaccines to be produced and that “SARS-CoV-2 is not going away."
Multiple new variants have been detected, with one from the U.K. being significantly more infectious. The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday said a new, separate variant had also been detected in Japan.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said of the new variants, "The more the virus spreads the higher the chance of new changes to the virus. Most notably, transmissibility of some variants of the virus appears to be increasing."
Moderna's two-dose vaccine was shown in vaccine trials to offer around 95 percent immunity to the coronavirus. Moderna officials on Tuesday said at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference that the vaccine is expected to provide immunity for at least one year.
Tal Zaks, Moderna’s chief medical officer, said the biotechnology company would be looking into whether a third booster shot would extend the immunity offered by the vaccine.
“We think there is an opportunity to boost, especially the ones at high risk, should you need it," said Zaks.
As CNBC notes, the WHO currently states there are four coronaviruses that are endemic across the globe but none are as contagious as SARS-CoV-2.