CAMBRIDGE, MA – With the world already sick – literally – of hearing about COVID-19 each and every day as the pandemic continues to cost people their health, jobs, and sanity, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel offered a bleak assessment of the future, stating that COVID may end up being the equivalent of the house guest from hell that won’t take the hint and leave.
Moderna, one of the two major manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines – the other being Pfizer – released data this week showing that their vaccine is still effective against the new mutant strains of COVID that have been popping up. However, Bancel said that people who were hoping to get a shot or two and then forget about the pandemic for the rest of their lives are in for a rude awakening, unfortunately.
“I believe SARS-Cov-2 is going to stay with humans forever,” he said in a recent interview. “We’re going to have to have boosts adapted to a virus, like we have for flu. It’s the same thing, they are both mRNA viruses, and we’re going to have to live with it forever.”
In a bid to strengthen their vaccine in response to new mutant strains, Moderna announced this week that they were starting to test booster doses that would supplement the version of the two-dose vaccine that is already in mass-deployment across the nation.
“The big question with the boost is going to be the dose,” Bancel said. “Do you need 25 or 50 or 100 micrograms? The current product that is authorized by the FDA is 100 micrograms, twice: A prime and a boost.”
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Bancel noted that a third major vaccine is coming to the market – one currently in-development by Johnson & Johnson – could take some of the pressure off of Moderna so that they can concentrate more on developing more booster shots to combat additional COVID variants.
Bancel, a French billionaire who owns 9% of the biotechnology company, also confirmed that his company is still on-track to produce and deliver 100 million doses of their vaccine by March 2021.