Moderna CEO says vaccines are likely less effective against Omicron – FT – .

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An employee shows off the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Valley Stream Hospital in New York, United States, December 21, 2020. REUTERS / Eduardo Munoz / File Photo

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  • CEO of drugmaker warns of “significant drop” in vaccine effectiveness
  • Mutations mean existing vaccines likely need to be changed – PDG
  • Financial markets fall

SYDNEY, Nov. 30 (Reuters) – The chief of drugmaker Moderna (MRNA.O) has said COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to be as effective against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus as they have been before, prompting new concerns in financial markets regarding the trajectory of the pandemic.

“There aren’t many people, I think, where (efficiency) is the same level… that we had with Delta,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel told the Financial Times in an interview.

“I think it’s going to be a material drop. I don’t know how much because we have to wait for the data. But all the scientists I’ve spoken to… tell me ‘this is not going to be good.’ “

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Vaccine resistance could lead to more illness and hospitalizations and prolong the pandemic, and his comments have sparked the sale of growth-prone assets like oil, stocks and the Australian dollar.

Bancel added that the high number of peak protein mutations the virus uses to infect human cells meant it was likely that the current vaccine harvest would need to be altered.

He previously said on CNBC that it could take months to start shipping a vaccine that works against Omicron. Read more

Fear of the new variant, despite a lack of information on its severity, has already triggered delays in some economic reopening plans and the reimposition of some travel and movement restrictions.[nL1N2SL045[nL1N2SL045[nL1N2SL045[nL1N2SL045

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Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Kim Coghill

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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