Moderna says COVID is entering endemic phase, but still needs annual vaccinations
North America, Europe, much of Asia, and much of Africa are located in the Northern Hemisphere. However, Burton said Moderna is closely monitoring the trajectory of the virus in the Southern Hemisphere, including major countries like Brazil and South Africa, as winter approaches.
Burton said Covid will likely follow the same seasonal patterns as other respiratory viruses, such as the flu. However, he warned people will still get sick and die from Covid even if the virus becomes an epidemic.
He noted that other endemic coronaviruses cause 340,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths annually for people over 65, citing data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
According to Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel, a booster shot is still needed in the fall, especially for people over 50 and those at high risk due to underlying health conditions.
“I get a flu shot every year, not because I’m worried about dying or being hospitalized – I just don’t want to get sick,” Bancel was quoted as saying.
During Thursday’s earnings call, Bancel said he expects Covid shots to play a similar role in the future as the virus becomes seasonal, the report said.
Moderna has also announced that it is developing a booster vaccine aimed at Omicron and other Covid variants such as Delta. Burton said the current enhancer protects against hospitalizations from Delta and to a lesser extent from Omicron. However, he said the vaccine’s effectiveness diminished over time, the report said.
Burton said the burden of disease and death has fallen from its peak during the first wave of infections, when no one had immunity to the virus.
“With each subsequent wave in mid-2021 for delta and late 2021 and early 2022 for omicrons, the observed morbidity from these episodes tends to be less severe, certainly compared with the first wave. , as our immune systems become more adept at fighting off SARS-CoV-2-virus disease,” Burton said.