Pandemic to endemic? The Moderna chair says it could happen this year | News on the coronavirus pandemic

The Moderna co-founder told Bloomberg News that 2022 could be the year the pandemic enters the endemic phase.

The pandemic could begin to enter an endemic phase in 2022, although countries will need to remain vigilant as the omicron variant spreads, according to Moderna Inc. co-founder Noubar Afeyan.

While some countries are slowly starting to consider treating Covid as an endemic disease, like the flu, World Health Organization officials have said it’s too early to make that call as cases rise.

“2022 may be the year the pandemic enters an endemic phase, but it really depends on what happens and what decisions are made around the world,” Afeyan said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Friday with Francine Lacqua. Although omicron is highly transmissible, “on the other hand, it has a lesser effect in terms of disease severity,” he said.

Moderna’s omicron-specific booster shot could enter human trials within weeks, he said, reiterating CEO Stephane Bancel’s comments made earlier this week. The CEO said he expected another recall to be needed in the fall and would likely contain an omicron-matching component.

“We will be ready with our tests from a few weeks,” Afeyan said on Friday. “Whether we need a booster in the spring rather than the fall is something we’re going to have to work with officials around the world to sort out. »

Moderna shares were down 3.3% in premarket trading in New York.

Moderna, together with Pfizer Inc. and its partner BioNTech SE, has developed highly effective Covid-19 vaccines based on messenger RNA technology. Moderna said earlier this week that it had signed vaccine purchase agreements worth $18.5 billion for this year, as well as options for an additional $3.5 billion, including reminders.

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