Moderna CEO Warns Existing Vaccines Less Effective Against Omicron: Reports

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Covid vaccine maker Moderna Inc.'s Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel has predicted that existing COVID-19 vaccines will be much less effective against Omicron than earlier strains, according to the Financial Times.

In an interview, the CEO said, "There is no world, I think, where (the effectiveness) is the same level?.?.?. we had with Delta."

He further said, "I think it's going to be a material drop. I just don't know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I've talked to?.?.?. are like 'this is not going to be good."

The World Health Organization, which named the new variant omicron, said the new strain is a "variant of concern" that could pose a higher risk of reinfection compared to the previous mutations. The new variant has about 50 mutations.

Bancel added that it was likely the current crop of vaccines would need to be modified due to the high number of mutations on the protein spike the virus uses to infect human cells.

Moderna recently said it is working to advance a booster candidate tailored to the new variant. The company is also testing a higher dose of its existing booster and studying other booster candidates designed to protect against multiple variants.

For fear of the new variant, the European Union and several other countries across the globe, including the U.S. And U.K, have suspended flights from South Africa and nearby countries.

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