- Moderna does not expect any difficulties in making a booster shot to protect against the Omicron variant.
- It will be a few more months before we can produce 500 million cans after (regulatory) approval, says Moderna CEO.
- Company now expects crucial information about the variant.
ZURICH: The COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer Moderna does not expect any problems with the development of a booster to protect against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and could start work in a few weeks, said CEO Stephane Bancel in an interview.
Moderna hopes to begin clinical trials of a vaccine to protect against the fast-spreading Omicron variant early next year, but is focused on one for now additional dose Vaccination.
“Omicron only needs minor adjustments. I don’t expect any problems, ”said Bancel in an interview published on Tuesday with the Schweizer TagesAnzeiger.
Now the company was waiting for important information about the variant to begin development.
“This will be another week or two,” said Bancel.
“It will be a few more months before we can produce 500 million cans after (regulatory) approval.” But our capacities are much higher today than a year ago, ”he said.
If approval bodies such as the US Food and Drug Administration and Swissmedic require further studies, it would take at least three months.
Some authorities want a study, others are still undecided. In his opinion, it depends very much on how much the disease progresses, he said.
After delivery delays and production delays in early 2021, Moderna is now able to meet production targets and deliver orders on time.
The company has manufactured between 700 million and 800 million COVID-19 vaccine doses this year and expects to produce more in 2022, increasing production from 100 million doses per month to 150 million.
Additional production lines, which are being built as part of a deal with Swiss drug maker Lonza, will go live in the first quarter of 2022, kicking off production, he said, adding that the company has 30 million doses in stock for the first time.
After signing preliminary agreements with Canada and Australia, Moderna has started talks with Switzerland about a so-called vaccine subscription, which could ensure the supply for the development of novel mRNA vaccines, and is interested in deepening the links with other regimens.
“For example, we have a number of new vaccines under development, for example against influenza or against the RS virus, which causes fatal respiratory problems in the elderly and young children,” said Bancel.
“We can combine these three mRNA vaccines in one dose and propose that governments secure supplies of a certain amount for several years and then invest in a manufacturing facility in this country.”
He said this would give these countries priority supplies in the event of a new pandemic.