Stephane Bancel, the CEO of the pharmaceutical company Moderna, warned on Thursday that advances in vaccine development won’t be enough to end the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at the virtual Bloomberg New Economy Forum, Bancel said that COVID-19 vaccines are “not a silver bullet” and argued that some restrictions will still be necessary, per a video clip the organization shared via Twitter.
“We need public health measures,” he said, describing them as “the best weapon” against the dangerous virus.
Bancel said that some countries, like China, have done an “excellent job” containing the disease, but noted that the virus is still “out of control” in many parts of the world.
He pointed out that people still refuse to wear masks and gather in groups, which accelerates the spread of COVID-19.
“And when you still go today, you know, in some places and you see people, you know, going to crowded places with no masks, or eating inside restaurants with no masks,” Bancel said.
“I don’t understand it, it makes no sense to me,” he added.
“It’s like, you’re going to get infected, the only question is when.”
As reported by The Conversation, Moderna is developing its vaccines in cooperation with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Earlier this week, the company released results from its phase 3 clinical trials, reporting that its vaccine has an efficacy of 94.5 percent.
Still, it remains unclear whether the firm’s mRNA shot is safe for everyone and, although it apparently prevents coronavirus symptoms, it may not prevent infection altogether.
Pfizer’s vaccine has also shown promising results, but it has to be stored at minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which poses a challenge in terms of transportation. The one Moderna developed, however, can be stored at standard refrigeration temperatures.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the NIAID, recently said that coronavirus won’t be a pandemic for “a lot longer” thanks to vaccines.
“I think we need to plan that this is something we may need to maintain control over chronically. It may be something that becomes endemic that we have to just be careful about,” Fauci said last week at a virtual health conference hosted by London-based think tank Chatham House.
According to data from Worldometers, more than 56 million COVID-19 cases have been reported so far and over 1.3 million around the world have died from complications caused by the virus.
In the United States, there has been an average of 162,816 cases per day over the past week, according to The New York Times.