The CEO of COVID-19 vaccine developer Moderna cautioned on Wednesday that COVID-19, which has brought world economies to a standstill and inundated hospitals, will be around "forever."
Would We Have to Live With COVID-19 Forever?
According to public health officials and infectious disease experts, there is a high likelihood that the novel coronavirus will become an endemic disease. This means it will become present in communities all the time, but possibly at lower levels than it is currently on.
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel stated during a panel at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, "SARS-CoV-2 is not going away. We are going to live with this virus, we think, forever," reported Washington Examiner.
Over 23 million people in the US have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic commenced in 2020, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Bancel observed that health officials would have to regularly be on the lookout for new variants of the coronavirus as scientists come up with vaccines to combat them.
Two new variants of COVID-19 have been detected in the United States. One of them is quickly becoming a prevalent strain in Columbus, Ohio, over the course of three weeks in late December and early January.
With many new variants of the contagion having been discovered, the United Kingdom variant is reportedly more infectious. Another variant of the virus has been detected in Japan.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus regarding the new variants, "The more the virus spreads the higher the chance of new changes to the virus. Most notably, transmissibility of some variants of the virus appears to be increasing," reported The Hill.
Moderna's two-shot vaccine was displayed in vaccine trials to provide around 95 percent immunity to COVID-19.
Bancel believes the firm's vaccine will be effective against the new variants from South Africa, the United Kingdom, or Brazil.
Moderna's vaccine was created in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
There have been over 384,000 fatalities attributed to the virus in the United States.
Health experts have set forth as far back as May that COVID-19 can become another endemic virus that recurs either in sporadic outbreaks or in seasons.
According to National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci in November, "I doubt we are going to eradicate this. I think we need to plan that this is something we may need to maintain control over chronically. It may be something that becomes endemic," reported The Denver Gazette.
According to Pfizer researchers, its vaccine created with BioNTech was shown to be effective against a key mutation in the United Kingdom and South Africa strain.
Moderna's vaccine has been granted authorization by the Food and Drug Administration for use in US citizens aged 18 and older.
White House testing chief Adm. Brett Giroir has underscored that scientists have detected no proof to suggest, nor reason to think that a new strain would evade the vaccines they currently have.
Mutations are common in COVID-19 and any other virus.