Current vaccines likely ineffective against new coronavirus variant

November 30, 2021
Current vaccines likely ineffective against new coronavirus variant

The CEO of drugmaker Moderna, Stéphane Bancel, has said the current crop of COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to be as effective against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus; and that it could take months to begin shipping a vaccine that does work against it.

Omicron (B.1.1.529) exhibits a high number of mutations on the protein spike the virus uses to infect human cells. Since its first official reporting from South Africa, Omicron has been deemed a “variant of concern (VOC)” by the World Health Organisation – it is thought to be even more infectious than the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

Despite a lack of information about its severity, reports of a new probable community case in Australia has sparked fresh worry in financial markets and triggered delays to some economic reopening plans and the reimposition of some travel and movement restrictions.

Vaccine resistance to Omicron would lead to more sickness and hospitalisations and prolong the dreaded pandemic, Bancel 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.'”

Category: Features, Pharmaceuticals

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