Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, said in an interview published Tuesday that current COVID-19 vaccines will likely be much less effective against the new omicron variant.
“I think it will be a significant drop,” he told the Financial Times. “I don’t know how much because we have to wait for the data. “
He told the newspaper that he does not believe there is a “world” where the efficacy is on the same level as vaccines with the Delta variant. He said he spoke to scientists who told him that this variant “would not be good.” He also said it could be months before pharmaceutical companies can produce large-scale vaccines to counter omicron.
OMICRON COVID-19 VARIANT: HERE’S WHAT WE KNOW
The Financial Times reported that a recent Stanford study found the Moderna jab to be 56.6% effective against Delta variant infection.
President Biden said the variant was “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic.”
He said he was not considering a blanket lockdown in the United States and instead urged the wearing of masks and vaccinations, even though a federal judge blocked his administration from enforcing a requirement that thousands of workers from health in 10 states get vaccinated.
The World Health Organization has said there is “considerable uncertainty” regarding the omicron variant. But he said preliminary evidence raises the possibility that the variant has mutations that could help it both evade an immune system response and increase its ability to spread from person to person.
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Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, responded to the potential threat by urging all people 18 and older to receive booster shots, because “strong immunity will likely prevent disease. serious ”.
The Associated Press contributed to this report