Moderna vaccine needs only ‘minor adjustments’ for omicron, CEO says
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said on Tuesday that the vaccine-maker hopes to begin clinical trials for a booster shot to protect against the omicron variant of COVID-19 early next year.
“It only needs minor adjustments for omicron,” Bancel said in an interview with Swiss newspaper TagesAnzeiger. “I don’t expect any problems.”
Bancel said that Moderna is currently waiting for new information on the variant in order to start the development of the booster, according to Reuters.
“It will take a few months before we can produce 500 million doses after approval. But our capacities are much higher today than a year ago,” he added, Reuters reported.
The news service noted that it could be another three months after the booster is developed before regulators such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Switzerland’s Swissmedic authorize it.
“Some authorities want a study, others are still undecided. In my opinion, it depends very much on how severely the disease progresses,” Bancel reportedly said.
Moderna has recently been in talks with Switzerland concerning the development of a vaccine subscription in order to secure a supply of its vaccine, Reuters reported.
“We have a number of new vaccines in development, for example against influenza or against the RS virus, which causes a respiratory disease that is fatal in the elderly and young children,” Bancel said. “We can combine these three mRNA vaccines into one dose and propose to governments to secure supplies for a certain amount for several years and then invest in a production facility in that country.”
Canada and Australia have also signed similar preliminary agreements with Moderna, according to Reuters.
Moderna said on Monday that research showed that a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine significantly increases antibody levels against omicron.
–Updated at 8:24 a.m.