Moderna Inc on Wednesday forecast higher vaccine sales for the second half of the year than in the first six months, as it expects the virus that causes COVID-19 to follow a more seasonal pattern requiring booster shots in the fall.
The U.S. vaccine maker is developing a potential next generation booster targeted at both the Omicron variant as well as the original strain of the coronavirus in hopes of producing broader protection, reports Reuters.
“The desired features for a northern hemisphere fall winter booster we think will be that it improves the durability of neutralizing antibodies against Omicron,” said Moderna President Stephen Hoge.
Hoge expects annual boosters to be needed for people at high-risk of severe illness, which Moderna estimates consists of roughly 1.7 billion people worldwide.
Moderna forecast $21 billion in 2022 COVID-19 vaccine sales but cautioned that it could be lower if the COVAX international vaccine-sharing program is unable to confirm demand for the shots from low- to middle-income countries.
Pfizer on Tuesday maintained its 2022 forecast of $32 billion for sales if its rival COVID vaccine developed with BioNTech after raising it every quarter last year, a sign that dizzying growth has slowed.
Sales of Moderna’s vaccine – its lone commercial product – rose to $5.9 billion in the first quarter from $1.7 billion a year ago. Total sales of $6.1 billion beat estimates of $4.62 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.