We Might Need Annual COVID-19 Booster Shots, Moderna Chair Says

As the world continues to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be a need for the people to take annual booster shots. This is what Moderna co-founder and chairman Noubar Afeyan recently said while speaking about the potential of SARS-CoV-2 plaguing the human race for a long time. 

The Need For Annual Boosting

In an exclusive interview with Maria Bartiromo on “Mornings with Maria,” Afeyan opened up about the idea of having annual boosters against COVID-19 should the virus continue to wreak havoc in the years to come. The entrepreneur also pointed out that there could also be varying boosters as the virus continues to evolve. 

“And so we just don't know how this virus is going to travel from being a pandemic all the way to potentially an endemic virus we have to get used to living with. If that’s where it ends up, then it may well need an annual booster, potentially varying on a year-to-year or every few years’ basis as the virus varies, similarly to what we do with the flu vaccine and so I think if we end up there, there will be a continuous need for boosting,” the chairman said. 

Afeyan stressed that booster shots will help provide antibodies that give optimal protection. The antibodies will either prevent or counteract SARS-CoV-2 from entering the body. The importance of having boosters has been creating buzz online as mounting data showed that the efficacy of the vaccines diminished over time. 

What Moderna Plans To Do

In response to the uncertainty that the novel coronavirus brought with it amid the pandemic, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology company is planning to hit two birds with one stone should its mRNA seasonal flu vaccine materialize. Trials for such a vaccine are ongoing, according to Afeyan. 

The big idea behind this new flu vaccine is it could come with an mRNA version of a COVID-19 booster. The chairman explained that Moderna’s upcoming seasonal flu vaccine could be rolled out with a COVID-19 booster dose that is timely and just right for whatever version of the virus is spreading in the next flu season. 

The flu shot will also go beyond COVID-19 as Moderna wants to add other biological preparations for other viruses. Afeyan said they are doing this because there’s been an increasing threat to mankind from many viruses, and there’s a need for something that will provide “a major convenience, compliance and protection kind of mechanism.”

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