A registered nurse applies a dose of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Sarasota Hospital worker Larry Hammers, 62, at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Florida on September 24, 2021.
Shannon Stapleton | Reuters
Moderna chief physician Paul Burton said Sunday the vaccine maker could release a new vaccine against the omicron variant of the coronavirus early next year.
It is unclear whether new drugs will be required or whether the current Covid vaccination will provide protection against a new variant that has begun to spread around the world.
“We need to be aware of the current vaccine’s ability to provide protection in the next couple of weeks, but the great thing about MRNA vaccines on the Moderna platform is that we can act very quickly,” Burton told the BBC.Andrew Marr Shaw… “
“If we have to make a new vaccine, I think it will happen in early 2022, before it really becomes available in large quantities,” added the head of Moderna.
Omicron has been classified as a “worrying option” by the World Health Organization, which means it is more infectious, more dangerous, or more effective in evading public health measures, vaccines and therapies. The variant contains 30 mutations in the spike protein that allow the virus to enter the body. Officials warned that many of these mutations could lead to increased resistance and transmissibility of antibodies, which could limit the effectiveness of existing Covid vaccines.
The vaccine maker “mobilized hundreds” of workers starting early Thursday morning, Thanksgiving, to begin exploring a new option, the company said in a statement.
Modern vaccines may provide some protection depending on how long ago the person was injected, Burton said. However, he said that unvaccinated people should be vaccinated or revaccinated if they are eligible.