A co-founder of Moderna told Bloomberg News that 2022 could be the year the pandemic enters endemicity.
The pandemic could begin to move into an endemic phase in 2022, although countries will need to be vigilant as the omicron variant spreads, according to Moderna co-founder Nubar Avian.
While some countries are slowly starting to consider treating Covid as an endemic disease, like influenza, WHO officials said it is too early to make that call as cases increase.
“The year 2022 may be the year when the pandemic enters an endemic phase, but it really depends on what happens and the decisions that are made around the world,” Avian said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Friday with Francine Laqua. Although omicrons are highly transmissible, “on the other hand, they have less impact in terms of disease severity,” he said.
He said the Modern Omicron’s booster shot could enter human trials within weeks, echoing comments made by CEO Stefan Bancel earlier this week. The CEO said he expects another booster to be needed in the fall, likely to contain an ingredient intended for Omicron.
“We will be ready as testing begins in a matter of weeks,” Avian said on Friday. “Whether we need a booster in the spring rather than the fall is something we have to work with officials around the world to sort out.”
Moderna shares fell 3.3% in pre-market trading in New York.
Moderna has partnered with Pfizer Inc. and its partner BioNTech SE are developing highly effective Covid-19 vaccines based on messenger RNA technology. Moderna said earlier this week that it has signed agreements to buy a vaccine worth $18.5 billion for this year, along with options worth another $3.5 billion, including booster shots.