Amidst concerns of new COVID-19 variants that are likely to be developed and around indefinitely, pharma giants Pfizer and Moderna have stated that they are trying to work on a 3rd booster shot for their existing 2-shot vaccine, in order to combat the potency of any further strains.
Over the past two days, both companies, in separate statements have hinted at the possibility of a 3rd booster shot for their coronavirus vaccine. The head of US pharmaceutical company Pfizer said the company is working on booster shots to help its vaccine protect against coronavirus variants, as mutated strains of the virus continue to spread worldwide, while US biotechnology firm Moderna said it will test adding a booster of its vaccine, making it three shots in total, to help it defend against a South African variant.
“Every time a new variant comes up we should be able to test whether or not [our vaccine] is effective,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told Bloomberg news. “Once we discover something that is not as effective, we will very, very quickly be able to produce a booster dose that will be a small variation to the current vaccine.”
Bourla also said, “The coronavirus will probably not be completely eliminated but will be reduced through pharmaceuticals to an illness like the common flu, with people getting an annual shot to defend against new strains.”
Meanwhile, Moderna, in its statement, said its vaccine will remain protected against the variants first identified in the UK and South Africa, although the shot appeared to be less effective against the South African strain.
The British government’s chief scientific adviser said last week that the UK variant likely carries a higher risk of death than the original strain and that the virus is “going to be around, probably, forever.” This makes it all the more crucial for more developments to be made on the vaccine front.
Speaking on the matter, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned about virus mutations on Wednesday while speaking to the World Economic Forum via videoconference. While stressing that he’s not an expert on vaccines, the prime minister said he believed “it’s just a matter of time until we hit a strain that the current vaccines are not susceptible to.” Netanyahu said that due to mutations, “we’ll have to inoculate ourselves at least annually, that’s my guess.”