Coronavirus may be here to stay for good, at least according to Moderna’s CEO.
Stephane Bancel warned that he believes the novel virus will be around “forever” even with vaccines.
“SARS-CoV-2 is not going away,” he said during a panel discussion at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference
He continued: “We are going to live with this virus, we think, forever.”
Moderna is responsible for developing the second COVID-19 vaccine to be approved in the U.S.
Bancel’s statements echo what public health officials and infectious disease experts have said previously when they suggested COVID-19 may become an “endemic disease.”
Per CNBC, endemic diseases are ones that are always present in certain communities and populations and rarely cause severe illness. The World Health Organization said there are already four coronavirus that are endemic around the world, but none of them are as contagious and deadly as COVID-19.
A new study published in the journal Science also suggests the virus will likely resemble the common cold in the future.
Bacnel explained that he believes new mutations of the coronavirus will pop up, which will force vaccine developers to alter the vaccine to “defeat the variants.”
On Wednesday, researchers said they found two variants originating in the U.S.
There was also a variant found in the U.K. and South Africa. Researchers for Pfizer explained that they were confident their vaccine would be effective against the mutation.
Just last week, Bancel spoke out about the potential immunity offered by the vaccine suggesting it would provide a few years of defense.
"The nightmare scenario that was described in the media in the spring with a vaccine only working a month or two is, I think, out of the window," Bancel said during an Oddo BHF event. However, more data is necessary to make a definitive claim.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in early December. Currently, Moderna is recommended for people 18 years of age and older, while Pfizer is available for those 16 and older.