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Moderna: COVID-19 booster shot might be needed before winter

Moderna said that it believes a COVID-19 booster shot will be "necessary prior to the winter season."

WASHINGTON — The Moderna two-dose mRNA coronavirus vaccine has a 93% efficacy that remains six months after the second dose, according to the company. 

During an earnings call on Thursday, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company said the vaccine was tested in clinical trials across five therapeutic areas including infectious diseases, cardiovascular, oncology, rare disease and autoimmune disorders, and was still 93% effective.

"We are pleased that our COVID-19 vaccine is showing durable efficacy of 93% through six months, but recognize that the Delta variant is a significant new threat so we must remain vigilant," said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna, in a statement.

The company added that it believes a booster shot will be "necessary prior to the winter season." However, public health officials have said that they do not believe Americans need a booster at this time, despite the highly contagious delta variant fueling the surge. 

Also, the World Health Organization on Wednesday called for a moratorium on wealthy countries administering booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines as a way to help ensure that doses are available in countries where few people haven't received their first shots.

Moderna’s announcement comes after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. said its COVID-19 vaccine remained effective months after the second dose and had become a top seller. It brought in nearly half the company’s revenue — $7.84 billion from direct sales and revenue split with its partner, Germany’s BioNTech.

The company added that the coronavirus vaccine brought in more than than $4 billion in second-quarter sales, helping to push the vaccine developer into a profit.

The COVID-19 vaccine is Moderna’s only commercially approved product. It also is developing several vaccines that aim to guard against the flu, Zika and HIV among other viruses. Those are all in early stages of clinical testing, according to its website.

Overall, Moderna earned $2.78 billion in the second quarter, compared to a loss of $117,000 last year, before its vaccine received emergency use authorization in the U.S. and other countries to fight the global pandemic.

The company brought in $4.35 billion in total revenue, thanks to the vaccine and some grants. Earnings per share totaled $6.46.

The results topped Wall Street expectations. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research expected, on average, earnings of $6.01 per share on $4.29 billion in revenue.

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has received emergency authorization for use in more than 50 countries.

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