As COVID-19 case counts surge worldwide, executives at Moderna (NSDQ:MRNA) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) have voiced support for additional doses of their COVID-19 vaccines.
Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel predicted that a fourth dose would be necessary by the fall as the protection of vaccine-induced antibodies fades.
In late December, Pfizer’s chief scientific officer Dr. Mikael Dolsten said a fourth dose could be necessary in the U.S. by spring.
Pfizer executives predicted that the COVID-19 wouldn’t become endemic across the world until 2024, according to Reuters. But, that said, the emergence of variants and global vaccination could influence the trajectory of the pandemic.
Several countries are considering moving forward with providing fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Israel, Canada and Chile have already begun doling out fourth doses to some individuals. In the U.S., the State of West Virginia has asked CDC for permission to do so.
Some experts have expressed skepticism about the prospect of periodic booster doses of vaccines developed based on the original strain of the novel coronavirus.
“It doesn’t make sense to keep boosting against a strain that’s already gone,” Ali Ellebedy, an immunologist at Washington University in St. Louis, told The New York Times. “If you are going to add one more dose after three, I would definitely wait for an omicron-based one.”
The World Health Organization has also resisted the idea of doling out perpetual doses of COVID-19 vaccines while a substantial number of people across the world remain unvaccinated.
The emergence of new variants could also fuel interest in a pan-coronavirus vaccine.
Researchers at the Walter Research Army Institute of Research, among others, are developing such a vaccine. Preclinical data from the WRAIR vaccine were recently published in Science Translational Medicine. However, the researchers have not yet tested the vaccine against the omicron variant.
Filed Under: Infectious Disease