Moderna COVID-19 vaccine likely to offer up to two years of protection: CEO

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Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine will likely protect people from the deadly bug for up to two years, CEO Stéphane Bancel said Thursday.

While the Massachusetts biotech firm needs to conduct more research to determine how long its shot wards off the coronavirus, Bancel said the “nightmare scenario” of the vaccine only working for a month or two is “out of the window.”

“The antibody decay generated by the vaccine in humans goes down very slowly,” Bancel said at an event sponsored by Oddo BHF, a financial services group. “We believe there will be protection potentially for a couple of years.”

The US Food and Drug Administration cleared Moderna’s vaccine for emergency use last month along with a similar shot developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

FDA officials acknowledged that Moderna’s 30,000-person clinical trial of the shot had not yet produced enough data to determine whether it would remain effective for longer than two months. Companies seeking emergency clearance for COVID-19 vaccines should continue their research “to assess long-term safety and efficacy,” the agency has said.

Bancel also said Moderna was close to proving that its vaccine would work against new coronavirus variants that have emerged in Britain and South Africa. Both are believed to be highly contagious.

Both Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines use messenger RNA, genetic material that provokes an immune response to the virus by directing the body to create a tiny amount of coronavirus spike proteins.

Moderna shares were up 3 percent in premarket trading Thursday at $119.79 as of 7:24 a.m.

With Post wires

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