Moderna official shares insight into omicron vaccine, stealth variant
JACKSON, Tenn. — News of an omicron vaccine may soon become a reality.
Moderna’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Paul Burton says they have already started giving out doses.
“The first person got their first dose of it yesterday. We aim to enroll about 600 people. It will probably take about two months to enroll and complete that study to get data from it,” Burton said.
Burton says once they have collected enough data, it will be available for the general public.
“Our hope is that we will then be able to start producing that and be in a position to have it supplied and ready to go for boosting of people in the autumn of 2022,” Burton said.
While they hope to fight the omicron variant, Burton says new variants could pop up at any time.
So he says they are preparing for that future.
“Make sure that we are ready with a vaccine to protect people, specifically against omicron and against delta, and maybe other variants as we then get ready for the next winter. That is why people may be protected now, but we can’t rest on our lows. We have to be prepared with that next vaccine,” Burton said.
He says the COVID-19 virus has proven to evolve in unpredictable ways. And now the omicron variant has its own variant.
“There is a stealth variant that is called BA-2 of omicron that now accounts for 50% in Denmark, doubling every four days in the United Kingdom,” Burton said.
Burton says the stealth variant has already made it to the United States. But they are unsure how dangerous it is.
That is why he says it is important to try to stay one step ahead at all times.
“The only way we can do that is to get as many people vaccinated and as many people boosted as possible to protect them,” Burton said. “We at Moderna will continue to do the great science that we do to try to get as many new vaccines that are specifically engineered against these variants.”
Burton says the stealth variant is still too new to know how it relates to other COVID-19 variants, but he hopes to know soon.
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