The CEO of biotech firm Moderna said Wednesday the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 will be around “forever,” suggesting drug makers will have to continually adjust to new strains and either seasonal or periodic outbreaks.
“We are going to live with this virus, we think, forever,” Stephane Bancel said during a panel discussion at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference. “SARS-CoV-2 is not going away.”
Medical specialists have suggested the novel coronavirus could become “endemic,” a disease that is maintained at a baseline level such as the seasonal flu.
Moderna has developed one of two vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus approved for use in the United States.
Bancel added, however, predicted the U.S. will become one of the first large countries to achieve “sufficient protection” against the disease.
The CDC says variants of the virus already have emerged in Britain, South Africa, and Nigeria, and health officials in Ohio identified two more Wednesday likely originating in the United States.
The World Health Organization reports four coronaviruses are endemic throughout the world, however not as deadly or contagious as the one that causes COVID-19.
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