Moderna CEO compares COVID-19 vaccines to iPhones, saying you'll probably be getting a new version each year

Moderna CEO compares COVID-19 vaccines to iPhones, saying you'll probably be getting a new version each year
Moderna CEO, Stephane Bancel attends 2019 Forbes Healthcare Summit at the Jazz at Lincoln Center on December 05, 2019 in New York City.Steven Ferdman/Getty Images
  • Moderna's CEO compared a future COVID-19 vaccine to the iPhone, saying we will need a new one every year.
  • Stéphane Bancel predicted a single-shot vaccine that protects against COVID-19 and flu strains.

Moderna's CEO compared COVID-19 vaccines to iPhones, saying you'll probably need to get a new version once every year.

Stéphane Bancel told CNN Business that he predicts the world will see a once-a-year vaccine in the coming years that protects against strains of COVID-19, the flu, or any other prevalent viruses — all in one shot.

"We think we can put in a single product a lot of mRNAs, taking care of all of those viruses. And that's once a year. You should be able to get an annual booster, a single dose, that has, in the vial, all those mRNAs for all those viruses that are, of course, adapted to the strain of a season like flu, like COVID strain, and so on," Bencel told CNN.

He compared the potential new shot to an iPhone, noting how a lot of consumers opt to buy a new smartphone every September with "new apps."

"That is exactly the same idea, which is, you'll get COVID and flu and RSV in your single dose. And you'll get what's the best science of the moment to protect you for the strain circulating now and in the fall, winter," Bencel explained.


But he added that the single-dose vaccine would take some time to perfect.

"That's why I did the kind of iPhone analogy, which is, you don't get the amazing camera, amazing everything the first time you get an iPhone. But you get a lot of things already," he said.

Bencel told CNN he expects this new shot to "take a a few years," but said he could see some countries rolling something similar out as soon as 2023.

"I think within a three-to-five years window, where every year, you will get a better product from Moderna, that will protect you for all the things circulating and with more and more coverage of different viruses," Bencel said.

As the virus continues to mutate, pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Moderna are racing to adapt to the latest COVID-19 variants. Current vaccines have proven to be effective at preventing serious illness and death from the highly transmissible Omicron BA.5 subvariant, but aren't as capable of preventing infection.