Medical

Moderna CEO makes unsubstantiated claim, predicts vaccines will struggle against omicron

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Moderna’s chief executive officer is predicting current vaccines for the coronavirus may not stand against the omicron variant of COVID-19.

The remarks came at a time when virtually no evidence exists to support the claim. This also raises the question of if the pharmaceutical company is moving too quickly.

Or, perhaps its a measure of precaution.

Scientists now know omicron contains over 50 mutations around the spike protein, which is concerning.

Dr. Christohpher Doehring, vice president of medical affairs at Franciscan Health, told News 8 the initiative is designed to give the company time to prepare should scientists need to pivot to a shot that targets omicron.

“The question will be how much lead time will we have or will we need if a new variant emerges and if it does require a change in the vaccine formulation,” he said. “Right now, based on the limited information we have about the variant, it is prudent on them to start the process.”

Doehring also says if over the coming weeks or months we realize the variant isn’t any less vulnerable to the current vaccines, then they can abandon the process. 

Moderna says the vaccine could be made available as early as March if needed. More evidence about omicron’s threat is slated to be released in the next week or so.

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