The US media CBS reported that, according to Bill Gates, a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine may be needed to prevent severe cases of new variants of the disease. The billionaire philanthropist’s comments come amid growing concern that current vaccines are less effective against the South African and Brazilian variants.
“The discussion now is whether we just need to get super high coverage from the current vaccine, if we need a third dose that is the same, or we need a modified vaccine“Gates told the presenter and editor-in-chief of CBS Evening News, Norah O’Donnell.
“The five companies that have vaccines in the US are considering making that modification and adding it so that people who have already had two injections need a third,” he said. “I think it’s reasonably likely that we will have an adjusted vaccine just to make absolutely sure that when these variants arrive in the United States, do not escape the protection of the vaccine“.
Gates is funding studies in South Africa to determine whether the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax vaccines were as effective against the most contagious variant.
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“AstraZeneca, in particular, has a challenge with the variant. And the other two, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, are a little less effective, but still effective enough that we need to get them out as quickly as possible while we study this idea of tuning the vaccine, “Gates said.
If the coronavirus is not eradicated, he said, additional injections may be needed in the future. “Probably not annually, but as long as it’s available, we want as many Americans as possible not to get it,” he said.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former director of the Food and Drug Administration, told CBS News in Face the Nation on February 7 that he believed that the vaccines currently being distributed in the US would offer “reasonable protection” against the new variants, even if they are less effective against the new strains. Still, he said, booster shots may also need to be given in the fall.
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