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Moderna CEO says company's vaccine likely to protect against COVID-19 for 'a couple of years'


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Photo by PAUL SANCYA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said this week that the company's COVID-19 mRNA vaccine — which received its approval from the European Commission on Wednesday for adults 18 and older — is likely to protect against the transmission of the coronavirus for a couple of years.

In December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared the biotech company's vaccine for emergency use.

What are the details?

According to a Thursday Reuters report, Bancel expliained, "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. ... The antibody decay generated by the vaccine in humans goes down very slowly[.] ... We believe there will be protection potentially for a couple of years."

The outlet reported that the biotech company is still working to determine specifically how long its injection will protect a patient.

In Thursday remarks, Bancel also said that his company is on the cusp of proving that its vaccine will be effective against several mutations of the coronavirus, such as those recently seen in Britain and in South Africa.

In November, the company announced that its vaccine efficacy against COVID-19 was at approximately 94% and that its vaccine efficacy against severe COVID-19 was at 100%.

What else?

NPR on Thursday reported that the European Union is preparing to distribute the vaccine to all member countries following the Wednesday approval.

"Europe has secured up to two billion doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines," EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, according to the outlet. "We'll have more than enough safe and effective vaccines for protecting all Europeans."

According to the EU Medical Panel, the vaccine works by using "messenger RNA" to force the body to produce antibodies against the virus.

"When a person is given the vaccine, some of their cells will read the mRNA instructions and temporarily produce the spike protein," the panel notes. "The person's immune system will then recognize this protein as foreign and produce antibodies and activate T cells (white blood cells) to attack it. If, later on, the person comes into contact with SARS-CoV-2 virus, their immune system will recognize it and be ready to defend the body against it."

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