Moderna CEO predicts many people will eventually get annual COVID shots
CEO Stephane Bancel of Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) predicted Monday that many adults will eventually receive annual COVID boosters, while the vaccine maker hopes to create yearly all-in-one shots for multiple diseases the way Apple unveils new iPhones each year.
"Our first priority is to get an annual iPhone-like booster for all respiratory diseases," Bancel said in a speech to the Boston College Chief Executives Club. "You're going to get your [new] iPhone every year in September, and you're going to get your 'Moderna iPhone booster' every year [as well]. We're going to keep adding more and more 'apps' for viruses, and we'll refresh all of those and update all of those every year."
Bancel said that while more than 100 viruses impact humans, vaccines only exist right now for 25. But he believes Moderna (MRNA) can employ the same technology it used to quickly create a COVID vaccine in 2020 to develop shots for other viral diseases as well.
The CEO said MRNA spent 10 years doing vaccine research before COVID even emerged, but "once you get all of the pieces of the technology to work, then the next one is [easy]."
As such, Bancel expects the company to have annual COVID boosters available beginning this fall to protect people from new virus variants like Omicron. MRNA's rivals like Pfizer (PFE), BioNTech (BNTX) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) appear likely to develop future COVID booster shots as well.
While many consumers have gotten two-shot initial vaccinations and a third booster shot, the CEO said whether consumers get additional shots will depend on people's ages and individual risk tolerances to things like "long COVID." That's a form of COVID where symptoms linger for months or years.
Bancel said he doesn't think his 19- and 20-year-old daughters will need boosters because "young people have very strong immune systems." But the 49-year-old CEO aid he'll probably get additional booster shots himself "because I don't want to get long COVID."
Seeking Alpha contributors have mixed views on where Moderna (MRNA) goes from here. Columnist Edward Ingham recently laid out a "Sell" case for the stock, while Juxaposed Ideas argued that MRNA is a "Buy."
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