SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As COVID-19 cases continue to surge and recede around the country, the co-founder of the company behind one of the vaccines spoke at Union College Wednesday evening.
Dr. Robert Langer, the co-founder of Moderna and a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology spoke about his work helping to develop messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines which are used to combat viruses such as COVID-19.
“I think with the advent of messenger RNA vaccines, what we are able to see is that they are able to be made much, much faster by using messenger RNA. We saw that in the case of the COVID example,” Dr. Langer explains.
Dr. Langer is the author of more than 1,500 articles and has several hundred patents. He co-founded Moderna, the Cambridge, Massachusetts based biotech firm in 2010.
The first doses of COVID vaccines were distributed to healthcare workers towards the end of 2020; just months after a pandemic was declared. Two years later, with the rise and fall of COVID variants such as Delta and Omicron, Dr. Langer says it is important for the vaccines to adapt and protect against new variants.
“Moderna is, and I’d say Pfizer too are already in clinical trials on these variants so I think that is certainly happening.”
As for how long COVID will stick around and how often vaccines will be needed, Dr. Langer believes overtime it will become much like that of the common Fly saying, “you probably get some type of booster or shot or injection once a year. In fact, one of the things Moderna is working at, and others too, is a combination vaccine. Where you have a Flu, a nanoparticle combined with the COVID vaccine and maybe others.”