Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in an interview this week that the COVID-19 pandemic could end in about a year based on the rate of vaccine production over the past six months, The Hill reported.
In an interview with the Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung, when asked about whether the world would return to normal sometime next year, Bancel replied, "As of today, in a year, I assume."
He added, "If you look at the industry-wide expansion of production capacities over the past six months, enough doses should be available by the middle of next year so that everyone on this earth can be vaccinated. Boosters should also be possible to the extent required."
Bancel also said that vaccines for infants may soon become available, and that "those who do not get vaccinated will immunize themselves naturally, because the delta variant is so contagious. In this way we will end up in a situation similar to that of the flu. You can either get vaccinated and have a good winter. Or you don't do it and risk getting sick and possibly even ending up in hospital."
According to Bancel, most governments will likely approve COVID-19 booster shots for vaccinated individuals who received their doses last fall, who he said "undoubtedly" need another shot, possibly of just half a dose of the original.
"The volume of vaccine is the biggest limiting factor. With half the dose, we would have 3 billion doses available worldwide for the coming year instead of just 2 billion," he said, noting that the booster shot’s composition would remain the same as the original due to a lack of time for changes.
"We are currently testing delta-optimized variants in clinical trials," Bancel said. "They will form the basis for the booster vaccination for 2022. We are also trying out delta plus beta, the next mutation that scientists believe is likely."
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