that new COVID vaccines are needed, warns Moderna – El Financiero

Senior executives of Moderna reiterated this Tuesday that the many mutations of the omicron variant suggest that new vaccines will be needed.

“The number of mutations in this virus is surprising,” said co-founder Noubar Afeyan in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

At a time of uncertainty about omicron’s impact on the course of the pandemic and on world economies, the comments fueled a new round of concern.

Executive Director Stephane Bancel, in an interview with the Financial times, predicted a “substantial drop” in the efficacy of existing injections and lowered expectations that new injections could be ready soon.

Companies that are betting on messenger RNA vaccines, BioNTech its partner Pfizer, as well as Moderna, have the advantage that they can be quick to develop a new injection, just as they were the first to introduce vaccines at the end of last year.

However, the new variant could offer Moderna the opportunity to ‘catch up’ with Pfizer-BioNTech, whose injection has become the best-selling pharmaceutical product of all time. Moderna warned earlier this month that it would not meet its delivery targets, saying vaccine sales would be between $ 15 billion and $ 18 billion in 2021.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech said last week that it has already been studying reinforcements that were designed to anticipate mutations like those that have emerged in omicron, and you will quickly advance a candidate specifically targeting this new strain.

“We have much better weapons to fight COVID than 18 months ago,” Afeyan remarked, citing multivariate vaccines that are already in clinical trials and may work better against omicrons than the previous generation.

Research is still ongoing to determine if omicron causes the same level of disease as previous versions of the virus; whether it can evade protection from previous vaccines and infections, and whether it will be able to outcompete existing strains as the pathogen continues to circulate everywhere. the world.

Moderna is more pessimistic in tone than Pfizer, with CEO Albert Bourla mentioning that it will be clear in two to three weeks how well its biologic holds up against omicron, underlining that even in the worst case, the formula is expected to have a certain degree of effectiveness against the strain.

Bourla said Pfizer could have an omicron-targeted vaccine ready in 100 days, if needed.

Other vaccine manufacturers, including AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, CanSino and Japanese drugmaker Shionogi have said they are working on vaccines against the new variant.


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