Moderna Co-Founder on Coronavirus Vaccines: There May Be ‘Continuous Need for Boosting’

Moderna
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Moderna chairman and co-founder Noubar Afeyan said on Tuesday that there may be a “continuous need” for coronavirus booster shots, similar to the annual flu vaccine.

Speaking on Tuesday’s Mornings with Maria, Afeyan said it will be difficult to know “until we look in hindsight” because “we just don’t know how this virus is going to travel from being a pandemic all the way to potentially an endemic virus we have to get used to living with.”

“If that’s where it ends up, then it may well need an annual booster, potentially varying on a year-to-year or every few years’ basis as the virus varies, similarly to what we do with the flu vaccine and so I think if we end up there, there will be a continuous need for boosting,” he continued before touting the company’s trials for an mRNA flu vaccine and suggesting that they will attempt to combine vaccines at some point in the future.

Moderna co-founder and chairman Noubar Afeyan answers to questions during an interview with the Associated Press, in Rome, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Moderna co-founder and chairman Noubar Afeyan answers to questions during an interview with the Associated Press, in Rome, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

He said:

We are very excited several months ago to announce that we are going to be developing a seasonal flu vaccine, which we very much hope to have data on in the not too distant future. And we are hopeful that we will see similarly encouraging results from just the whole platform from mRNA so that we are able to show robust and effective vaccination.”

Once we do that, we’ve also said publicly that we will likely combine these so that the seasonal vaccine in the future might well be a combination of MRNA for COVID-19 as well as for seasonal flu or whatever version of COVID is attacking us at that time. So that is a major convenience, compliance and protection kind of mechanism.

Afeyan’s remarks come nearly a week after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Moderna’s booster shots for certain demographics. FDA approval for the Moderna booster extends to seniors, those 18-64 who are “high risk” of severe illness, and those in the same age group “with frequent institutional or occupational exposure” to the virus.

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