The officials from Moderna Inc have said that the company might have a booster shot ready for its two-dose COVID19 vaccine by the fall of this year. The CEO of the company Stephane Bancel has said that the firm will ensure that the booster vaccine is available by the fall of this year in the US, so it can provide immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus to people when the country moves into the next fall and winter season. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has already started testing a wide range of vaccine blends from the company to use as a booster shot that is designed to offer immunity against other emerging variants of the virus. Experts have said that the booster shot will target the South African strain that is known as the B.1.351 variant as well.
The officials have said that the US Food and Administration (FDA) will use the same method to approve tweaked vaccine shots that is used to authorize annual flu shots. It means that booster shots might be available for emergency use without going into lengthy clinical trials. Bancel has said that Moderna is all set to submit the data to regulatory authorities within a couple of months. This announcement has come after the company has declared that the original Moderna vaccine for COVID19 has been proved to be 90 percent effective against the disease up to six months after the second shot. The officials have claimed that the vaccine is 95 percent effective in offering immunity against severe infection for up to six months after the second dose.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that at present there are around 453 cases of COVID19 in the US that are linked to the B.1.351 strain. This variant has become a huge matter of concern among health officials, as they believe that it might dodge the efficiency of currently available vaccines. Stephane Bancel has said that booster shots might be the best solution available to protect people from these deadly variants. He has said that many strains of the virus will emerge in the next year or so but as more people are vaccinated or obtain natural protection from past infection, the pace of these variants will reduce. This way, the virus might stabilize just like the flu virus. The officials from Moderna have said that the company is planning to introduce a new two-in-one vaccine that can provide immunity against both seasonal flu and COVID19.
Last year, the company has also declared that it is going to come up with its own flu vaccine. The CEO of the company has said that the company is trying to make a new flu vaccine available at the clinics this year in the US. Later, they will combine the flu vaccine with their existing COVID19 vaccine; therefore, people will have to get only one boost shot to get protection from the flu and COVID19 both. This vaccine will protect people from various emerging variants of COVID19 and flu every year, said the officials. Stephane Bancel has said that he is quite hopeful that the company will come up with a high efficacy flu vaccine.
The CDC has said that flu vaccines that are currently available in the US are only 40 to 60 percent effective. Moderna has been trying to pitch itself in as regulatory authorities have suggested that there should be a halt to the use of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine. There have been many cases of rare blood clotting among people who have received the Johnson & Johnson shot. The CEO of Moderna has said that it seems the FDA will be quite cautious to examine the data of booster shot to ensure the safety of people. He has said that the way the agency is tackling Johnson & Johnson issue; it will reduce vaccine hesitancy among people.