Home Pharma News Moderna expecting Covid-19 booster by August, unsure on Omicron specific vaccine

Moderna expecting Covid-19 booster by August, unsure on Omicron specific vaccine

by Vaishali Sharma

The CEO of US biotech firm Moderna (MRNA.O) told Reuters that an Omicron-specific booster vaccine could be ready by August, but the company is still gathering clinical data to determine whether that vaccine would provide better protection than a new dose of the existing jab.

Last month, Moderna began clinical trials for a booster dose specifically designed to target Omicron but initial results from studies in monkeys show the Omicron-specific shot may not offer stronger protection than a new dose of the existing vaccine.

Moderna chief executive Stephane Bancel said in an interview the company aimed to have a booster ready by August 2022, before next autumn when he said more vulnerable people may need it.

Moderna’s vaccines use mRNA technology to provoke an immune response, similar to the shot developed by Pfizer/BioNTech.

“We believe a booster will be needed. I don’t know yet if it is going to be the existing vaccine, Omicron-only, or bivalent: Omicron and existing vaccine, two mRNA in one dose.”

He said a decision would be made in the coming months when clinical data becomes available.

Bancel also confirmed that under the best-case scenario Moderna would have ready by August 2023 a so-called pan-vaccine which would protect simultaneously against COVID-19, flu and other respiratory diseases.

He added that pricing for this vaccine under development would be “very similar” to that applied to the current vaccine.

Moderna charges different prices for different regions of the world with a range between $15 and $37, according to UNICEF, a United Nations agency involved in the distribution of vaccines to poorer nations.

Boosting sales in Europe

Separately, Moderna announced plans to expand its commercial network in Europe in a bid to increase sales on the continent.

“Moderna plans to establish a commercial presence in Belgium, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden to support the delivery of mRNA vaccines and therapeutics locally,” the company said in a statement.

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