Bill Gates has warned that a third dose of coronavirus vaccine may be needed to combat variants of the virus over the next few years.
The news comes amid worries that current shots are less effective against new variants that have developed in Brazil and South Africa.
“The discussion now is do we just need to get a super high coverage of the current vaccine or do we need a third dose that’s just the same or do we need a modified vaccine?” Gates told CBS Evening News.
The Express reports: In an interview with CBS, Mr Gates said pharmaceutical companies are already looking into issuing more doses to counter variants of coronavirus.
He said to anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell: “The discussion now is do we just need to get a super high coverage of the current vaccine, or do we need a third dose that’s just the same, or do we need a modified vaccine?
“All five of the companies that have US vaccines are looking at making that modification and adding that in so that people who’ve already had two shots might need to get a third shot.
“I think it’s reasonably likely that we will have a tuned vaccine just to make absolutely sure that as these variants hit the US that they’re not escaping from vaccine protection.”
Mr Gates then shared his foundation was financing research in South Africa on whether the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax vaccines were as effective against the South African and Brazilian variants.
In a worrying sign, he said: “AstraZeneca in particular has a challenge with the variant.
“And the other two, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, are slightly less effective, but still effective enough that we absolutely should get them out as fast as we can while we study this idea of tuning the vaccine.”
Mr Gates also suggested additional COVID-19 shots may be needed if the virus is not eradicated and added: “Probably not yearly, but as long as it’s out there, we want as many Americans as possible not to be spreading it to each other.”