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Vaccine for Omicron variant might be ready in early 2022: Moderna

Vaccine for Omicron variant might be ready in early 2022:  Moderna

Amid concerns over the potentially highly-transmissible new Covid variant, Moderna Inc. Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton has said a reformulated vaccine shot could be available early in the new year as he suspects the omicron variant may elude current vaccines.

We should know about the ability of the current vaccine to provide protection in the next couple of weeks," Paul Burton, the chief medical officer of Moderna said during an appearance on a BBC show.

"If we have to make a brand new vaccine, I think that's going to be early 2022 before that's really going to be available in large quantities," Burton added.

His comments come as the vaccine maker mobilised hundreds of its staff last Thursday after the Omicron variant made global headlines.

Burton pointed out on Sunday that current vaccines should protect against the variant, adding that all unvaccinated people should take the jab.

"The remarkable thing about the mRNA vaccines, the Moderna platform, is that we can move very fast," he said.

Protection should still exist, depending on how long ago a person was vaccinated, and for now the best advice is to take one of the current Covid-19 vaccines, Burton said.

"If people are on the fence, and you haven't been vaccinated, get vaccinated," he said. "This is a dangerous looking virus, but I think we have many tools in our armamentarium now to fight it."

The emergence of the omicron strain has seen countries rush to clamp down on travel from southern Africa. Fears that it could exacerbate a winter Covid surge in the northern hemisphere and undermine a global economic recovery sent a wave of risk aversion across global markets Friday that continued Sunday when the Middle East opened for the week.

Moderna said in a release on Friday that it was working rapidly to test the current vaccine against the omicron variant, and studying two booster candidates.

"Since early 2021, Moderna has advanced a comprehensive strategy to anticipate new variants of concern," the company said. "The company has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to advance new candidates to clinical testing in 60 to 90 days."

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TAGS:Omicron Moderna 
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