Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel warns COVID-19 shots less effective against Omicron, markets tumble – .

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Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel warns COVID-19 shots less effective against Omicron, markets tumble – .


A syringe is loaded with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Isabel Zendal Hospital in Madrid, Spain on November 29.Manu Fernandez/The Associated Press

Drugmaker Moderna set off new alarm bells in financial markets on Tuesday as the company chief warned that COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to be as effective against the Omicron variant as they are were against the Delta version.

Crude oil futures lost more than a dollar, the Australian currency hit its lowest level in a year and the Nikkei dropped its gains as comments from Stéphane Bancel raised concerns that vaccine resistance lead to more illnesses and hospitalizations, thus prolonging the pandemic.

“There isn’t a world, I think, where (efficiency) is at the same level … that we had with Delta,” the CEO of Moderna Bancel told the Financial Times in an interview.

“I think it’s going to be a big drop. I don’t know how much because we have to wait for the data. But every scientist I’ve spoken to… is like, “This is not going to be good,” Bancel said.

Vaccines will help protect Canadians against Omicron variant COVID-19 as new cases emerge, infectious disease experts say

We must be ready for Omicron, but let’s not imagine the worst

Omicron – which the World Health Organization (WHO) says carries a “very high” risk of outbreaks of infections – has raised global alarm, closed borders casting shadow over fledgling economic recovery after pandemic two years.

News of its emergence wiped around US $ 2 trillion from the value of global stocks on Friday, although some calm returned this week as investors waited for more data on Omicron’s characteristics.

Remarks by US President Joe Biden that the US would not reinstate lockdowns also helped calm markets before Moderna chief’s comments scared investors.

Biden called for a broader vaccination, while the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged all people aged 18 and over to get vaccinated. Britain has also expanded its COVID-19 recall program amid Omicron fears.

HONG KONG EXTENDS THE BORDERS

Fear of the new variant has prompted countries around the world to act quickly to tighten border controls to avoid a recurrence of last year’s strict lockdowns and abrupt economic downturns.

Hong Kong authorities have extended the entry ban to non-residents of several countries. He said non-residents of Angola, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zambia would not be allowed entry from November 30.

Additionally, non-residents who have visited Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Israel and Italy in the past 21 days would not be allowed entry. in the city from December 2, he added.

The global financial hub, among the last places pursuing a zero COVID strategy, has already banned non-residents from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

In Australia, five travelers have tested positive for Omicron.

They are vaccinated and in quarantine, officials said, adding that they are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms.

Singapore’s health ministry said two travelers from Johannesburg who tested positive for the Sydney variant had passed through its Changi airport.

Australian authorities have also identified a sixth traveler who was most likely infected with the variant and had spent time in the community.

Canberra on Monday delayed reopening the country’s borders for international students and skilled migrants, less than 36 hours before their return.

“We’re doing this out of caution, but our dominant view is that while (Omicron) is an emerging variant, it’s a manageable variant,” Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said at a press conference.

BORDERS AND CONCERNS

First reported on November 24 in South Africa, Omicron has since spread to more than a dozen countries.

WHO has urged countries to use a “risk-based approach to adjust measures relating to international travel”.

Global restrictions, however, have raised concerns about vaccine inequality.

“The African people cannot be blamed for the immoral level of immunization available in Africa – and they should not be penalized for identifying and sharing crucial scientific and health information with the world,” said the secretary general of the UN Antonio Guterres in a statement.

India, home to the world’s largest vaccine maker, has approved the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to many African countries and has said it is ready to send it “quickly.” China has also pledged a billion doses to the mainland.


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