Omicron: Moderna expresses concern, says vaccine may be ready early 2022

The new omicron COVID-19 variant may elude current vaccines, Paul Burton, Moderna Chief Medical Officer has suggested.

Burton while speaking on Sunday on the BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show”, said if this happens, a reformulated shot could be available early in the new year.

“We should know about the ability of the current vaccine to provide protection in the next couple of weeks.”

“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.”

“The remarkable thing about the mRNA vaccines, the Moderna platform, is that we can move very fast,” he said.

Burton said for now the best advice is to take one of the current Covid-19 vaccines that are available.

“If people are on the fence, and you haven’t been vaccinated, get vaccinated,” he said. “This is a dangerous-looking virus, but I think we have many tools in our armamentarium now to fight it.”

In a press release on Friday, the pharmaceutical giant, Moderna said it was working expeditiously to test the current vaccine against the omicron variant, and studying two booster candidates.

Part of the statement read, “Since early 2021, Moderna has advanced a comprehensive strategy to anticipate new variants of concern.”

“The company has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to advance new candidates to clinical testing in 60 to 90 days.”