The same day the first confirmed U.S. case of the Omicron coronavirus variant surfaced in California, Moderna said it could have a booster targeting the new COVID-19 variant as soon as March. Moderna president Stephen Hoge says his company is already working on that booster program. He told Reuters Wednesday he believes booster shots carrying genes specifically targeting mutations in the variant would be the fastest way to address any anticipated reductions in vaccine efficacy it may cause. He said Moderna is also working on a multivalent vaccine that would include up to four different variants including Omicron, a process that could take several more months. In Washington this week, the U.S. top infectious disease official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said it could take two weeks or more to find out how easily the variant spreads from person to person and whether it can bypass the protections provided by vaccines. “As you know and we’ve said this, that the profile, the molecular profile of the kind of mutations that you see, suggests that it might be more transmissible, and that it might elude some of the protection of vaccines, but we don't know that now... We have to be prepared that there's going to be a diminution in protection." Back at Moderna, Hoge said he believes the current vaccines will be able to slow, if not stop, the Omicron variant. The company is testing to see whether fully vaccinated recipients of Moderna's vaccine and those receiving boosters are protected against the variant.