Markets went into a frenzy in the wake of Moderna states that COVID shots are less potent against Omicron.
SYDNEY: The head of the drug maker Moderna has set off alarm bells in the financial markets on Tuesday. He announced that the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently available are less efficient against Omicron than they were in the past against those who have the Delta variant.
Significant European market shares fell by about 1.5 percent in the early trading. Tokyo’s Nikkei index fell 1.6 percent and crude oil futures fell more than 3 percent.
The Australian dollar fell to a single-year record low after Stephane Bancel’s remarks caused concerns that resistance to vaccination might extend the pandemic.
“There is no place that I can think of where (the efficiency) is at the identical . . . We worked the pleasure of working with Delta,” Bancel told the Financial Times.
“I believe there will be a substantial drop. I don’t know the extent of it because we have to wait for the results. However, the scientists I’ve met with . . . Are you thinking ‘this isn’t going to be a good idea?” Bancel said.
However, balancing this, European Medicines Agency (EMA) executive director Emer Cooke informed members of the European Parliament that even if the new version becomes more prevalent, the current vaccines will still offer protection.
Bancel previously stated on the broadcaster CNBC the possibility of taking several months before shipping the vaccine specifically for the new version.
Researchers from the WHO have also suggested it could take several weeks to determine if Omicron could cause severe illness or not be protected against the effects of vaccinations.
Cooke explained that tests in the lab of “cross-neutralization” would take around two weeks. If there was a requirement to modify COVID-19’s vaccines, new vaccines could be approved in 3 or 4 months.
“Vaccination is likely to keep you from being in an emergency room,” said John Wherry, director of Penn Institute for Immunology in Philadelphia
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