In a recent interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel made a shocking revelation – the company had begun work on a COVID-19 vaccine in January of 2020, months before the virus even had a name.
According to Bancel, the company had been closely monitoring the outbreak of a new respiratory illness in Wuhan, China and had begun work on a vaccine as soon as the genetic sequence of the virus, later named SARS-CoV-2, was released by Chinese scientists in January 2020.
This revelation has raised questions about the timing and origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have pointed to the fact that Moderna’s early work on a vaccine suggests that the virus may have been circulating in China before it was officially reported in December 2019.
Bancel went on to explain that the company’s decision to begin work on a vaccine so early was based on their experience with the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak and their understanding of the potential dangers of a new coronavirus. He also mentioned that they had a previous experience with creating the vaccine for the virus similar like SARS-Cov-1 which helped them to accelerate the development process.
Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, which utilizes messenger RNA technology, was one of the first to receive emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2020. Since then, it has been administered to millions of people around the world and has been shown to be highly effective in preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19.
It is important to note that Moderna is not the only company or organization that started working on a COVID-19 vaccine before the virus had a name. Other companies like Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson also began development on a vaccine in early 2020. The World Health Organization (WHO) also formed a global research and innovation network to accelerate the development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics for the new coronavirus.
This revelation from Moderna’s CEO highlights the importance of preparedness and rapid response in the face of emerging infectious diseases. It also serves as a reminder of the ongoing need for increased investment in research and development for vaccines and other medical countermeasures in order to be better prepared for future pandemics.
It is clear that the early work on COVID-19 vaccine by Moderna and other companies was crucial in the fight against the pandemic. With the help of these vaccines, we have been able to control the spread of the virus and save countless lives.