Covid-19 pandemic will be over in a year, Moderna chief executive says
The CEO of US pharma giant Moderna, Stephane Bancel, has come up with a reassuring forecast, suggesting that increasing vaccine production could see the coronavirus pandemic finally coming to an end in mid-2022.
“If you look at the industry-wide expansion of production capacities over the past six months, enough doses should be available by the middle of next year so that everyone on this Earth can be vaccinated,” Bancel said in an interview with Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung.
There’ll be jabs available even for infants soon as well as booster doses for those who would require them, he said.
“Those who don’t get vaccinated will immunize themselves naturally because the Delta variant is so contagious,” the chief executive pointed out.
According to Bancel, the situation with Covid-19 will become similar to the one with flu. “You can either get vaccinated and have a good winter. Or you don’t do it and risk getting sick and possibly even ending up in hospital.”
When asked when humanity will be able to exit the pandemic, which already saw over 219 million people infected and more than 4.5 million dead, and return to normal life, he replied: “As of today, in a year, I assume.”
Moderna’s two-dose Covid-19 vaccine is approved in some 100 countries, while also being one of three drugs used in the immunization campaign in the US. The jab boasts a high efficacy rate of 93% six months after the administration of its second shot, barely waning from the 94.5% reported during its phase-three clinical trials.
However, Bancel insisted that those vaccinated would “undoubtedly” need a refresher at some point to stay protected from the virus. He said he expects younger people to get a booster shot once every three years and older people – once a year.
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Moderna’s booster contains half a dose of the active ingredient compared to the original injection, which provides the company with a further opportunity to increase production, he said.
“The volume of vaccine is the biggest limiting factor. With half the dose, we would have three billion doses available worldwide for the coming year instead of just two billion,” the CEO explained.
Moderna was among the six vaccine-makers whom Amnesty International accused of fueling an “unprecedented human rights crisis” by refusing to take part in initiatives to boost global vaccine supply and preferring to cooperate with rich countries that hoard jabs for themselves.
According to a fresh report by the human rights group, the US company together with the likes of Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Novavax were to blame for the fact that out of 5.76 billion doses administered worldwide, just 0.3% have gone to low-income nations.
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“Moderna has not yet delivered a single vaccine dose to a low-income country” and won’t supply the vast majority of its orders as part of the COVAX global vaccine distribution scheme until next year, Amnesty International claimed. But, despite all that, the American drugmaker is set to earn over $47 billion in revenues by the end of 2022, it added.
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