With the world now seeing the wrath of a new COVID variant, pharmaceutical companies are racing once again for a solution. But this time around, it is all about coming up with a booster to give to individuals to make sure that they are protected.

Moderna is one of the leading brands trying to come up with an Omicron booster and if the words of CEO Stephane Bancel are to be believed, it could be ready in a few weeks.

Bancel appears confident of having one out by 2022 with clinical trials hopefully starting as a guard against the fast-spreading Omicron variant. But before focusing on that, the main agenda for the company is a booster dose for its current mRNA-1273 vaccine, Reuters reported.

"It only needs minor adjustments for Omicron. I don't expect any problems," Bancel said in an interview on Tuesday, Dec. 21.

Before they can buckle down to work, Bancel adds that they need more information about the variant before they can start development.

"That will take another week or two," Bancel said. "It will take a few months before we can produce 500 million doses after (regulatory) approval. But our capacities are much higher today than a year ago."

Like most drugs, the Omicron booster dose needs to undergo the necessary process. Aside from the clinical trials, it needs to go through agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Switzerland's Swissmedic. Given those steps, it may take at least three months before a booster to combat Omicron comes out.

"Some authorities want a study, others are still undecided. In my opinion, it depends very much on how severely the disease progresses," Bancel explained.

The available booster shots are expected to come out in minimal numbers, it is the same route that other vaccines took before a large volume of them started to become available.

Moderna manufactured between 700 million and 800 million COVID-19 vaccine doses this year and expects to produce a higher number in 2022, boosting production from 100 million doses a month to 150 million.

The booster shots are expected to follow the same route.

Moderna shots
Moderna, "out of an abundance of caution," has ultimately decided to put on hold the lot and two adjacent ones, falling under three lot numbers 3004667, 3004734, and 3004956, with foreign substances confirmed in at least 39 vials. This is a representational image. Getty Images

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