Medical Technology

Data for Omicron-Specific Shots Likely Available in March: Moderna

(Reuters) Moderna Inc’s vaccine against the Omicron coronavirus variant is expected to enter clinical development in the coming weeks and Moderna expects to be able to share information with regulators around March the CEO Stephane Bancel announced on Monday.

“The vaccine is in the process of being developed… it is expected to be available in the clinic within the next few weeks. “We expect to have data we can share with regulators in March, to help us identify the next steps,”” Bancel stated at the World Economic Forum’s virtual Davos Agenda conference.

Moderna is also developing a single vaccine that combines an additional dose of COVID-19 and an experimental flu shot.

Bancel said the best case scenario was the combined COVID/flu vaccine would be available in the fall of 2023, at least in some countries.

“Our goal is for one booster per year to ensure that we don’t have compliance issues with people who don’t want receive three or more shots every winter.”

Many countries offer a third dose COVID-19 vaccine to their citizens. This is especially the case for people over the age of 65 and those with compromised immune systems. Israel, however, has begun to offer its citizens a fourth dose of the vaccine.

In January, Moderna’s CEO stated that the public might require another shot in the fall of 2022 as the effectiveness of boosters against COVID-19 is likely to decrease in the coming months.

Certain experts have expressed reservations about booster programs, which includes from the European Union’s drug regulator. They also question the need for the fourth dose of boosters.

Speaking at the same event, the top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said there was no evidence that repeat doses of booster doses could weaken the immune system.

“Giving boosters at different times, there is really no evidence that’s likely to hamper (immune response).”

Fauci stated that the goal should be to create a booster that triggers a response against multiple variants.

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