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Dr. Max Gomez Q&A With Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel

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While the COVID vaccine rollout continues to accelerate, new questions are popping up. Will the shots cover the new variants, will we need boosters or annual vaccines? CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez gets answers.

Video Transcript

MAURICE DUBOIS: Overall vaccine rollout continues to accelerate. New questions are popping up.

KRISTINE JOHNSON: Will the shots cover the new variants, and will we need boosters or annual vaccines? CBS 2's Dr. Max Gomez spoke with the CEO of Moderna to get some answers.

MAX GOMEZ: After hundreds of millions of doses of COVID vaccines given so far, it's clear that they are remarkably safe and extremely effective against the original so-called ancestral virus strain. But the coronavirus has shown itself to be adept at doing what viruses do, mutate and evolve into more infectious and potentially more lethal variants. Will the vaccine work against those new strains?

STEPHANE BANCEL: What we know is that for the UK variants, the vaccine works superbly, like the ancestral strain from one. Same thing.

MAX GOMEZ: Stephane Bancel is the CEO of Moderna, the Boston biotech that produced a COVID vaccine for testing in just 60 days. While the present vaccine does provide some protection against the South Africa strain, Moderna is already anticipating future vaccine protocols.

STEPHANE BANCEL: We already shipped to Dr. Fauci team a new vaccine, where we changed the DNA instruction into the mRNA vaccine where we're basically coding for 100% of a South Africa virus. The single dose boost that you could give to people in six months, nine months, 12 months after their first vaccination, this is going to be tested in the clinic very quickly.

MAX GOMEZ: Whether that booster dose-- and perhaps even a yearly shot-- may also be needed won't be known until we know how long the vaccines will provide immunity to the virus, or how many variants will be circulating.

STEPHANE BANCEL: If it means some years we have up to three variants and then combine them together in a single dose, we will do that. And we will not wait.

MAX GOMEZ: While Moderna can produce new vaccine variants very quickly, it has to first know the genetics of a new strain, and that will require much ramped-up genetic sequencing of virus samples from around the world. Dr. Max Gomez, CBS 2 News.

KRISTINE JOHNSON: They have to constantly be steps ahead, don't they?

MAURICE DUBOIS: Absolutely.