Moderna chief executive sees pandemic over in a year

Moderna’s chief executive officer told a Swiss newspaper he thinks the COVID-19 pandemic could be over by this time next year as vaccine supplies grow and those who are unvaccinated catch the virus and get natural immunity.

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Stephane Bancel, speaking to Neue Zuercher Zeitung, said that production of the vaccine will increase and by next year there should be enough vaccines for everyone on the planet to be vaccinated, according to Reuters.

“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,” he told the newspaper in an interview.

Bancel also said that he expected governments would OK the use of the vaccine for all ages, including infants, and would provide for people to get booster shots each year, as people do for influenza.

Bancel predicted that the pandemic will end through vaccination and because “Those who do not get vaccinated will immunize themselves naturally, because the delta variant is so contagious,” he said.

“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 the company, Moderna is set to present clinical trial research to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in its request for approval of a booster shot. The FDA on Wednesday approved a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine for those over age 65 and those at high risk of getting the virus.

Bancel said the company is also testing possible booster shots that would target the delta variant and possibly one that combines the delta and beta variants. The booster shot they will soon seek FDA approval for would be the same shot that is being given out now.

“We are currently testing Delta-optimized variants in clinical trials. 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.”