Moderna vaccine may protect for several years

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Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) CEO Stephane Bancel addressed the issue Thursday at an event organized by a financial services group.

“The nightmare scenario described in the media in the spring, if you recall, ‘Oh, the vaccine will not work more than a month or two,’ these nightmare scenarios, I think, are out the window. We believe there will be protection potentially for a couple of years.”

But he said more data is still needed to make a definitive assessment. He said the immediate focus is on the vaccine’s effectiveness on seniors.

“The question I think is going to be around the elderly, because that is true for every virus, the immune system of the elderly goes down in terms of the ability over time.”

The length of protection was a lingering question for scientists and regulators given that Moderna is just one of the companies that worked at warp speed to turn out a coronavirus vaccine in just a few weeks. Normally, vaccines take years to develop. The European Commission approved Moderna’s vaccine on Wednesday.

Bancel said Moderna was about to prove that its vaccine would also be effective against variants of the coronavirus seen in Britain and South Africa.

Moderna shares, which have jumped six-fold over the last 12 months, rose in early trading Thursday.

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