Moderna Says New Vaccine for Omicron Variant May Be Ready in Early 2022

Bloomberg — Moderna Inc. Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton said he suspects the new omicron coronavirus variant may elude current vaccines, and if so, a reformulated shot could be available early in the new year.“We should know about the ability of the current vaccine to provide protection in the next couple of weeks,” Burton said Sunday on the BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show.”

“If we have to make a brand new vaccine, I think that’s going to be early 2022 before that’s really going to be available in large quantities,” he said. “The remarkable thing about the mRNA vaccines, the Moderna platform, is that we can move very fast,” he said.
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The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech company mobilized “hundreds” of staff early on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., after news of the omicron variant spread.

Protection may still be available depending on when a person has been vaccinated. Burton stated that the best recommendation is to get one of the Covid-19 vaccines.

“If people are on the fence, and you haven’t been vaccinated, get vaccinated,” he said. “This is a dangerous looking virus, but I think we have many tools in our armamentarium now to fight it.”

Countries have rushed to tighten travel restrictions from south Africa since the emergence of an omicron strain. It was feared that this could lead to a northern hemisphere winter Covid surge and undermine an economic recovery. Global markets experienced a wave-like risk aversion Friday, which continued Sunday after the Middle East opened its doors for business.

Moderna released a statement on Friday stating that the company was working fast to develop a vaccine for the omicron variant of the disease and is also studying potential boosters.

“Since early 2021, Moderna has advanced a comprehensive strategy to anticipate new variants of concern,” the company said. “The company has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to advance new candidates to clinical testing in 60 to 90 days.”

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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