Moderna’s chief medical officer says the company is working on a booster for the COVID-19 omicron variant along with a new vaccine when it comes to fighting the disease.
Dr. Paul Burton, speaking one-on-one with ABC15, revealed the company is looking at a new vaccine for COVID-19 and the flu. “We will begin testing late this year a COVID-Flu vaccine, and we would hope to have that available for the Winter and Fall of 2023."
“It would be a huge step I think in keeping people safe,” said Dr. Burton.
Along with this vaccine, Moderna is working on a new study for a booster to fight the omicron variant.
“It’ll probably take a couple months to complete that study, get some data, so I would predict that by the middle of the year, that we’ll really be able to start producing the vaccine and have it available and ready for people,” said Dr. Burton.
On Thursday, Moderna announced the first dose of the omicron-specific booster was given to the first participant.
"We are reassured by the antibody persistence against omicron at six months after the currently authorized 50 µg booster of mRNA-1273. Nonetheless, given the long-term threat demonstrated by omicron's immune escape, we are advancing our omicron-specific variant vaccine booster candidate and we are pleased to begin this part of our Phase 2 study," said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna.
"We are also evaluating whether to include this omicron-specific candidate in our multivalent booster program. We will continue to share data with public health authorities to help them make evidence-based decisions on the best booster strategies against SARS-CoV-2," Bancel said.
Earlier this week, competitor Pfizer began similar research with its reformulated shots. It's not clear that global health authorities will decide the vaccines need to be changed.
The shots still offer strong protection against death and severe disease, and a booster also improves the chances of avoiding even a milder infection.
The newest study will give an omicron-matched booster to about 600 people who've already received either two or three Moderna shots already