Moderna CEO says omicron-specific booster trials will begin soon

Nancy Lane/ The Boston Herald/ AP
Stephane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, speaks to the media after Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker toured the Moderna facility , Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Norwood, Mass. 

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said on Monday that his company was “working very actively” on a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot to target the omicron variant. 

“We are discussing with public health leaders around the world to decide what we think is the best strategy for the potential booster for the fall of 2022. We believe it will contain omicron,” Bancel said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

“We need to be careful to try to stay ahead of a virus and not behind the virus,” he also said.

Bancel added that the booster shot would soon enter clinical trials and that the company would assess if there was a need for other components to be added to the shot. 

Also on Monday, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said his company would have a vaccine to target omicron ready by March. He did, however, note that it was unclear if a vaccine targeting variants was necessary or how exactly it would be used.

Nonetheless, the company would have the shots ready in case countries wanted them. 

“The hope is that we will achieve something that will have way, way better protection particularly against infections, because the protection against the hospitalizations and the severe disease — it is reasonable right now with the current vaccines as long as you are having, let’s say the third dose,” Bourla said.

Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical adviser, has previously said that he did not see a need for an omicron-specific vaccine as “booster vaccine regimens work against omicron.” 

“The message remains clear: If you are unvaccinated, get vaccinated, and particularly in the arena of omicron, if you are fully vaccinated, get your booster shot,” Fauci added.

Tags Anthony Fauci Clinical trials COVID-19 vaccine Omicron variant

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