Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel revealed in an interview with “Mornings with Maria” on Thursday that his company’s COVID-19 booster vaccine could be available to the public as the delta variant spreads across the world.
He noted the company “is waiting for a bit more data” but said in some countries Moderna’s recall could be available for certain demographics “as early as September”.
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Bancel told host Maria Bartiromo that “we have already tried in humans a booster of the South African strain, the beta virus and we announced this morning that we are also working on the delta booster and that the data is going come together in the coming months. ”
He noted that “when we see all the data, we will take the best booster”.
Bancel then explained that some countries, including Germany, France and Israel, indicated that the elderly population, which received the vaccine during the first wave in December, January and February last, could “receive the booster as early as September. “.
He stressed the urgency of providing booster injections to this population given that respiratory viruses are “more dangerous in autumn and winter”.
“And so it is important that people vaccinated a long time ago, especially with vaccines that have had less efficacy, are protected so that they are not hospitalized this fall and winter,” he said. at Bartiromo.
In May, the company announced that two of Moderna’s booster shots of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine under study elicited an immune response against SARS-CoV-2 and the variants first identified in South Africa and the United States. Brazil.
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A variant-specific booster injection resulted in higher levels of neutralizing antibodies against the affected South African variant with fewer side effects than a third injection of the original vaccine.
Bancel told Bartiromo on Thursday that the company “is still learning a lot” about the delta variant.
“It’s clearly very contagious,” he noted, adding that hospitalizations have increased in many places across the country, especially in areas with many unvaccinated people.
He pointed to current data, which found that those who received a third dose of a Moderna vaccine had “42 times more antibodies with the same vaccine as a third dose” compared to the level of antibodies provided by. a second dose.
“So we think we have the tools to be there to help and continue to keep Americans safe so that we can run the economy and the kids can go to school,” Bancel said.
Bancel provided his company’s COVID-19 vaccine updates as head of the World Health Organization [WHO] Calls for a moratorium on the administration of boosters to ensure that doses are available in countries where few people have received their first doses.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the appeal mainly to the wealthiest countries which have far outnumbered the developing world in the number of people vaccinated.
In December, Moderna’s vaccine was cleared for emergency use in adults in the United States and has since spread for emergency or conditional use in adults in more than 50 countries, according to Rueters.
Moderna hopes to complete its submission for full approval to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this month.
The company shipped about 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the U.S. government in the first quarter of this year and Bancel revealed on Thursday that 200 million doses had been shipped in the second quarter.
“We doubled production between Q1 and Q2,” Bancel told Bartiromo, adding that the company was on track to deliver between 800 million and one billion doses this year.
He noted that next year, depending on the dose of the booster, which has yet to be determined as the company awaits clinical data, Moderna will likely ship between two and three billion doses.
“We should be able to at least double production next year, maybe even triple it,” Bancel said.
Bancel gave an overview of its business shortly after posting better-than-expected second quarter results, revealing that the company generated $ 4.4 billion in revenue and $ 2.8 billion in profit, or 6 , $ 46 per share, exceeding quarterly expectations of $ 5.96 per share.
Analysts polled by Refinitiv expected revenue of $ 4.2 billion.
“We had a very good quarter,” Bancel told Bartiromo.
“We are now sitting on $ 12.2 billion in cash, which is why… this morning we announced that the board of directors has authorized a share buyback of up to $ 1 billion,” he added.
Bancel noted that Moderna has “signed advance purchase agreements with countries around the world for $ 20 billion.”
“So the company is in great shape and the product is making a lot of progress,” he said.
Moderna announced on Thursday that its COVID-19 injection was 93% effective for six months after the second dose, aligning with the 94% effectiveness rate reported in its original clinical trial.
This compares favorably with data released by rival Pfizer-BioNTech last week, which found that the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine drops to around 84% about six months after the second dose.
The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed and has been published on medRxiv, was supported by Pfizer and BioNTech, concluding that despite “a gradual downward trend in vaccine efficacy”, it was still “very effective in preventing COVID-19”.
Even with Moderna’s good quarter, the company has not been able to keep pace with the larger Pfizer, which plans to manufacture up to 3 billion doses this year and sales in 2021 to exceed 33.5. billion dollars, Reuters reported.
Last month, Moderna joined the S&P 500, the broadest measure of the U.S. stock market, as stocks have risen more than 280% in the past 12 months.
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Suzanne O’Halloran of FOX Business, Kayla Rivas and Alexandria Hein of Fox News, as well as the Associated Press contributed to this report.