The CEO of Moderna Inc says that the new coronavirus will never go away and will probably exist ‘forever’.
During a panel discussion at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference on Wednesday, Stéphane Bancel reiterated comments from public health experts saying that COVID-19 is likely to become an endemic disease, meaning it will always be present in the population but circulate at a slow rate.
“SARS-CoV-2 is not going away,” Bancel said CNBC. We think we’re going to live with this virus forever. ‘
In addition, he said he believes the company’s coronavirus vaccine will be effective against infection from any of the new variants from the UK, South Africa or Brazil.
Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel (pictured) spoke at a panel discussion at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference on Wednesday and stated that the coronavirus will not go away and the general public will have to live with it ‘forever’
Bancel added that he believes the company’s vaccine is protective against the new variants from the UK, South Africa and Brazil. Pictured: Moderna’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 2020
The Moderna vaccine was developed in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health.
It uses part of the pathogen’s genetic code, called messenger RNA, or mRNA, to make the body recognize the coronavirus and attack it if a person becomes infected.
The candidate, called mRNA-1273, works by tricking the body into producing some of the viral proteins, which the immune system then recognizes and builds a defense response against.
When given in two doses four weeks apart, the vaccine was found to have a 94.1 percent effect on the prevention of COVID-19 and 100 percent effective in the prevention of serious diseases in clinical trial data.
It was approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on December 18.
Moderna researchers are currently investigating whether a third booster shot will help prolong immunity. Pictured: Moderna’s vaccine at Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia, December 2020
Since then, stock prices for Moderna, surprisingly, have fallen from $ 140.23 per share to $ 124.06 per share.
At the conference, Bancel said health officials around the world will need to diligently monitor all variants that mutate so scientists can produce vaccines against them, CNBC reported.
The variant originating in the UK, B 1.1.7., Is spreading in the US and infecting at least 85 people in 13 states.
Wisconsin and New Mexico each reported their first case of the superinfectious British variant on Wednesday.
In addition, Ohio scientists discovered two more contagious, homegrown variants of the virus, announced on Wednesday.
One species is nearly identical to the British variety, but evolved independently in the U.S. A second is completely unique to the country and has become dominant in the state capital, Columbus.
A study recently found that Pfizer’s vaccine was effective against the new variants, and Bancel said on Wednesday that he expects Moderna to provide protection.
“I think the demand is more in the medium term as the virus continues to develop over time,” Bancel said.
“I’m not worried about the short term, but we’re watching that very closely because I think we might be moving into a world where we need new vaccine strains down the road – but not in the short term.”
Moderna officials also spoke at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, saying they believe immunity to the vaccine will last for at least a year.
Dr. Tal Zaks, Moderna’s chief medical officer, said the company is investigating whether a third dose would prolong immunity.
“We think there is an opportunity to boost, especially those at high risk, should you need it,” he said.