On Wednesday, the CEO of Moderna Therapeutics warned that the coronavirus, which has affected world economies and overwhelmed hospitals, will be around “forever.”
Infectious disease experts and public health officials have been saying that there is a high likelihood that COVID will become an endemic disease, which means it will remain in communities at all times. However, they said it will likely be at lower levels than it is now.
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel agreed Wednesday that COVID is likely to become endemic, saying, “SARS-CoV-2 is not going away.”
During a panel discussion at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, Bancel said, “We are going to live with this virus, we think, forever.”
He said researchers would have to continuously watch for new strains of the coronavirus, so they can develop vaccines to fight them.
On Wednesday, Ohio researchers said they have discovered two new strains likely originating in the United States. They also said that one of them quickly became the dominant strain in Columbus, Ohio, over three weeks in late December and early January, according to CNBC.
Pfizer researchers said its COVID vaccine, which has been approved by the FDA in December, appeared to be effective against the new strain of the virus, which has been detected in the United Kingdom. The company also said that its vaccine is effective against the new strain found in South Africa.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Moderna’s vaccine last month for use in people who are 18 years and above. More studies are required to assess the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in children because their immune systems can respond differently to vaccines than in adults.
U.S. authorities have been racing to distribute doses of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but it may take months before people to achieve herd immunity, which means the virus will have enough new hosts to spread.
However, Bancel said Wednesday that he expects the U.S. will be one of the first large countries to achieve “sufficient protection” against the virus, according to CNBC.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said there are already four coronaviruses that are endemic across the world, but they are not as contagious or deadly as COVID. The news was published on CNBC.