Photo Credit: Dado Ruvic | Reuters
Biotech company Moderna aims to develop an all-around annual booster for the public.
The pandemic has recently emphasized the need for individuals to be administered booster shots against coronavirus, flu, and other viruses in several periods within a year. However, Moderna thinks that this should change. So, in an announcement, the company has made it clear that in five years, people will only need to receive one shot per year.
Covid-19 is mutating as time passes by, says Moderna. This compels biotech companies and other health bureaus to fund the improvement of vaccines. CEO Stephane Bancel said that the company would make life easier for people by developing an enhanced version of the virus that only needs to be administered once every year.
Bancel added that the product they are working on would have three to five years. The company’s product is likened by the CEO to a smartphone.
“You don’t get the amazing camera, amazing everything the first time you get an iPhone, but you get a lot of things. A lot of us buy a new iPhone every September, and you get new apps, and you get refreshed apps. And that’s exactly the same idea, which is you’ll get Covid and flu and RSV [respiratory syncytial virus] in your single dose,” he said.
The Covid-19 pandemic led Moderna to rake in tens of billions in revenue as numerous countries purchased their vaccines in their respective battle against the virus. However, according to Bancel, the current rate of recovery across countries will cause the revenue figures of Moderna to decrease eventually. He added that while it had 70 markets penetrated at the height of the pandemic, it could all withdraw from purchasing more vaccines.
“I think we are slowly moving — if not already in some countries — to a world where all the tools are available, and everybody can make their own decision based on their risk tolerance,” the CEO said.
Bancel added that people will most likely choose to live with the virus just like what humanity did with the flu. “There’s always a 20% probability that we get a very nasty variant that drives very severe disease that has a lot of mutation,” he posited. This means that the future of the industry of vaccines may depend on the behavior of the virus as well as the mitigation measures made by countries.
More to be developed by Moderna
Moderna does not confine its development to only fighting the Covid-19 virus. It has more than 40 products currently under development, with other products looking ahead to the future.
Bancel has revealed that Moderna is also working on a cancer vaccine. The details of the vaccine should be made available to the public in the latter part of this year. If the testing and assessment of the vaccine will go as planned, it should pass the approval of proper authorities as early as two years from now.
The recent declaration of the World Health Organization labeling the recent Monkeypox outbreak as a global health emergency also prompted Moderna to develop its own Monkeypox vaccine, which, according to them, is still in their laboratory.
Expansion of Moderna abroad
Moderna hopes to expand its reach to other countries targeting 10 markets within the Asian and European regions. These would include Denmark, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The plan would cost the company millions of dollars, and it would also provide hundreds and thousands of new jobs for the locale.
The aim is high for Moderna: the goal is to reach 40 to 60 countries within three years.
Recently, it has signed manufacturing deals in South Korea, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Moderna also hopes to create a plant in North Asia and Southeast Asia. According to Bancel, the facilities they intend to construct would develop vaccines relative to the area it is situated in.