Moderna developing 'further protection' against COVID, chairman says

Noubar Afeyan said it is at the 'tail-end' of COVID booster trials, data expected next week

Moderna Chairman Noubar Afeyan, during an interview on FOX Business’ "Mornings with Maria" Friday, said it is working on "further protection" against coronavirus, and it is in the final stages of testing a booster vaccine that's effective against the omicron variant.

"The threat has to be taken seriously," Afeyan told Maria Bartiromo. "The best approach is going to be to get the unvaccinated vaccinated, those who need boosts to be boosted, and then we need to work as developers of the vaccine on the most effective, further protection should we need it. That's what we are working on at Moderna."

Afeyan said he expects booster efficiency data to be released sometime next week.

"We're testing thoroughly all aspects of what we could do," Afeyan said. "We've looked at variant vaccines with the beta strain, with the delta strain, even while we begin to work on an omicron-specific vaccine."

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The executive also pointed out the effectiveness of the existing vaccine against the omicron variant. 

"To the best of our knowledge, certainly a boosted vaccinated person with three doses of MRNA, we know, has a very significant amount of antibodies," Afeyan explained.

Moderna is focused on minimizing the total number of infections, according to Afeyan.

"If we keep producing infected people, they're going to spread that infection to others. And that's the thing that's keeping this virus from going away," he said. "So we really do need to be vigilant and look at generating as many antibodies as we can, so we can put an end to this."

Reacting to ongoing supply chain and production disruptions, Afeyan said that Moderna has no plans to increase prices amid inflation concerns.

"We made advance purchases months and months in advance to be able to be ready to produce the vaccine," he noted.

Though Moderna’s stock is down nearly 12% as of Friday morning, Afeyan dismissed any worries over revenue expectations.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MRNA MODERNA INC. 148.62 -6.34 -4.09%

"I'm pretty convinced that once people focus on the data that we're just now presenting as we speak, there will be an understanding that this is a very clear path to what we ultimately want to do, which is to develop a multi-variant, multi-antigen vaccine that goes after influenza, that goes after COVID-19 and RSV," Afeyan explained.

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He went on to say that Moderna is making significant steps in science and technology.

"We just need to be in a position, and we now are, with the American technology to react very quickly and keep protecting people," he said.