Moderna Inc. Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton said on Sunday, November 28 that he presumes the new omicron coronavirus variant may shake off current vaccines, but if happens, a new reformulated shot could be available early in the new year 2022.
“We should know about the ability of the current vaccine to provide protection in the next couple of weeks,” Burton said Sunday on the BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show.”
“If we have to make a brand new vaccine, I think that’s going to be early 2022 before that’s really going to be available in large quantities,” he said. “The remarkable thing about the mRNA vaccines, the Moderna platform, is that we can move very fast,” he added.
Protection should still exist, depending on how long ago a person was vaccinated, and for now the best advice is to take one of the current COVID-19 Vaccines, Burton said.
“If people are on the fence, and you haven’t been vaccinated, get vaccinated,” he continues. “This is a dangerous looking virus, but I think we have many tools in our armamentarium now to fight it.”
The inception of the Omicron strain has rushed various countries on travel restrictions specifically on routes to and from Southern Africa fearing that the Omicron variant could increase a surge of new COVID-19 cases for the winter season.
Moderna said in a press release that it was working rapidly to test the current vaccine against the Omicron variant, and studying two booster candidates.
“Since early 2021, Moderna has advanced a comprehensive strategy to anticipate new variants of concern,” the company said. “The company has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to advance new candidates to clinical testing in 60 to 90 days.”