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Moderna eyes omicron vaccine supply for Japan as early as fall

This electron microscope photo provided by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases shows the coronavirus isolated at the facility. (Photo Courtesy of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases)

TOKYO -- Moderna Inc. is planning to supply a new vaccine for the coronavirus's omicron variant to Japan as early as this autumn, the U.S. pharmaceutical giant's Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton revealed at a press conference here on May 27.

    Moderna has been conducting clinical trials on a new messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine that combines ingredients effective against both the Wuhan and omicron variants, expecting that it will be used for booster shots. The firm intends to use Japan's newly introduced "emergency approval system" to make drugs available quickly in case of pandemics and other emergencies.

    According to Burton, Moderna will be able to release data from the clinical research in a few weeks. The new omicron vaccine can provide a shield from the strong variant for longer periods, Burton said.

    In Japan, people can get third and fourth vaccine shots at least five months after the preceding jabs. With the upcoming vaccine, just one jab a year could be enough, Burton said.

    (Japanese original by Ai Yokota, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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