The CEO of Moderna said that people may need a fourth injection of Covid because the effectiveness of the booster may decrease over time

On July 23, 2021, a nurse prepares a syringe containing a dose of modern coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at Enfermera Isabel Zendal Hospital in Madrid, Spain.

Juan Medina | Reuters

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said on Thursday that the effectiveness of the booster against Covid-19 may decline over time, and people may need a fourth injection in the fall of 2022 to increase protection.

Bansell said people who received the booster in the fall of 2021 may be adequately protected to survive the winter, as people gather indoors to avoid the cold and new infections have surged.

However, Bansell said that over the course of a few months, the effectiveness of the enhancer may decrease, similar to what happened with the first two doses. The CEO of Moderna was interviewed by Goldman Sachs during the investment bank’s healthcare CEO meeting.

“When we get the data in the next few weeks, I will be surprised that it stays well over time — I don’t expect it to stay good,” Bansell said, referring to the booster’s strength.

Thanks to omicron, the world is currently suffering from an unprecedented surge of infections. For example, according to CNBC’s analysis of Johns Hopkins University data, the United States reports an average of more than 574,000 new cases every day.

The Moderna CEO predicts that another round of boosters will be required by the fall of 2022. He said that governments including the United Kingdom and South Korea have already ordered preparations for injections.

“I still believe that we will need boosters in the fall of 22 and beyond,” Bansell said, adding that people who are older or with underlying health problems may need annual boosters in the next few years.

“We have been saying that we first believe that this virus will not disappear,” Bansell said. “We will have to live with it.”

Preliminary data released by Moderna last month showed that its currently authorized 50 microgram booster injection increased the antibodies against omicron infection by 37 times. 100 micrograms of booster increased these antibodies by 83 times.

Intensified injections are playing an increasingly important role in the public health strategy to control the virus Due to protection Both of the original two shots received a major blow from Omi Technology.

Real-world data from the United Kingdom found that the two-dose vaccine of Moderna and Pfizer is only about 10% effective in preventing symptomatic infections caused by omicron within 20 weeks after the second dose.

The same study published by the UK Health and Safety Agency found that two weeks after receiving the injection, the booster dose is as effective as 75% in preventing symptomatic infections.

However, according to research, the effect of booster injections began to decline after about 4 weeks. In the 5th to 9th weeks, the booster is effective in preventing infection from 55% to 70%, and the effective rate is 40% to 50% 10 weeks after receiving the injection.

Albert Burla, Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer Tell CNBC last month People may need a fourth dose, and due to the omicron variant, an injection earlier than expected.

In an interview with Goldman Sachs, Bancel stated that omicron can accelerate the transition from an acute crisis caused by the virus to an epidemic phase, where enough people are protected from immunity so that Covid will not cause damage to public life.

However, he also warned of the prediction and pointed out that dozens of omicron mutations surprised most scientific circles. The data to date shows that compared to past strains, omicron is more transmissible, but less severe.

However, Bansell said random mutations may change the course of the pandemic again.

“It is completely unpredictable whether a new mutation will appear in a day, a week, or three months. In terms of the severity of the disease, this mutation will be worse,” Bansell said. “This is a piece we must treat with caution.”