Moderna CEO says a fourth COVID-19 dose may be needed next fall

HealthDay News – Most people may need a fourth COVID-19 vaccine by next fall as immunity is likely to wane, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said.

While the booster that millions of Americans received last fall should remain strong during this winter’s Omicron surge, Bancel said the effectiveness of boosters will likely diminish over the course of several months, similar to the first two doses.

“I’ll be surprised if we get this data in the coming weeks that holds up well over time — I would expect it won’t hold up well,” Bancel said during an interview with Goldman Sachs during his health CEO on the booster shots conference, CNBC reported. Governments including the UK and South Korea are already ordering the cans in preparation, he added.

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Moderna released preliminary data last month showing its currently approved 50mcg booster shot increased antibodies that block infection by Omicron by 37-fold. A 100 mcg booster increased these antibodies 83-fold.

Meanwhile, data from the UK found that Moderna’s and Pfizer’s two-dose vaccines are only about 10 percent effective at preventing symptomatic infection by Omicron 20 weeks after the second dose, CNBC reported. The same study, published by the UK Health Agency, showed that booster doses two weeks after receiving the vaccine were 75 percent effective in preventing symptomatic infection. However, the strength of the booster shots wears off after about four weeks, the study found. Booster shots were 55 to 70 percent effective in preventing infection at weeks 5 to 9 and 40 to 50 percent effective at 10 weeks after receiving the shot.

Still, Bancel was positive on Thursday, saying Omicron could accelerate the transition from the acute crisis caused by the coronavirus to a phase where enough people have some level of immunity so that daily life is no longer affected by COVID-19 upside down.

CNBC article


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