Omicron, the new Covid-19 variant, has been dominating headlines ever since it first appeared in South Africa this month. Countries including the U.S., the U.K., Canada and others have restricted travel to some South African nations.
Major vaccine-makers have weighed in on how fast they could get the omicron-specific vaccine out.
On Sunday, Moderna’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Borton told the BBC that the company could have a new vaccine ready by early 2022.
“If we have to make a brand new vaccine, I think that’s going to be early 2022 before that’s really going to be available in large quantities,” Burton said.
It's not clear whether a new clinical trial would be needed for approval of a new vaccine or if an omicron-focused booster could be authorized based on previous studies.
Moderna CEO Stephane Bance told CNBC it will take months to develop and ship an omicron-specific vaccine, but a higher 100-microgram booster dose could be available sooner.
The heavily-mutated omicron variant has emerged in small numbers in Europe, Africa, Australia, Israel and Canada so far. However, the CDC hasn’t announced any cases of this new variant in the U.S. yet.
It's worth noting that the country’s top infectious disease doctor, Anthony Fauci, said that the newer variant will “inevitably” appear in the U.S.