Created: November 30, 2021 02:40 PM
(WHEC) — The new COVID variant of concern, deemed omicron by the World Health Organization (WHO), is sparking some new questions about the future of COVID prevention, including the potential need for a new vaccine.
Moderna's CEO Stephane Bancel addressed the concern on CNBC Monday.
"Given the large number of mutations, it is highly possible that the efficacy of the vaccine, all of them, is going down,” Bancel said. “But we need to wait for the data to know if this is true, and how much is it going down."
The company's chief medical officer doubled down on that push by telling Hallie Jackson of NBC News that they've already started working on a new version of the vaccine.
That didn't happen for the delta or beta strains, so News10NBC went In-Depth to find out why.
Right now the delta variant remains the most contagious strain of the virus in the world, and in Monroe County, but each of the three vaccines have proved effective against it.
When it comes to the beta variant, tests have shown existing vaccines are less effective, but Moderna said that strain did not spread nearly as much as delta.
The three companies making the vaccines for the U.S. decided an extra vaccine would be unnecessary.
The biggest concern with omicron is re-infection. The WHO said the strain increases the risk of that happening because of some mutations to its spike protein that could reduce antibody protection.
Pfizer said the biggest factors in asking for authorization of a new vaccine will be effectiveness in lab studies and the amount of spread we see outside of South Africa.
One thing everyone agrees on: It's still too early to make a decision on any new vaccines.
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