NEW YORK, Dec 1 (Reuters) – Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) could have a COVID-19 booster shot targeting the Omicron variant tested and ready to file for U.S. authorization as soon as March, the company’s president said on Wednesday.

Moderna President Stephen Hoge said he believes booster shots carrying genes specifically targeting mutations in the newly-discovered Omicron variant would be the quickest way to address any anticipated reductions in vaccine efficacy it may cause.

“We’ve already started that program,” he told Reuters.

The company is also working on a multi-valent vaccine that would include up to four different coronavirus variants including Omicron.

That could take several more months, he said.

The United States identified its first COVID-19 case caused by the Omicron variant in California, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday. read more

Omicron, dubbed a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, is being studied to see if it is more contagious or causes more severe illness than other variants, and if it can evade current vaccines.

Given prior guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has required mid-stage clinical testing, Hoge said the process could take three or four months.

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