Vaccines, According To Moderna, Are Ineffective Against Omicron.
Existing Covid-19 vaccines will fail to protect against the Omicron form, and developing a new vaccination that works would take months, according to the CEO of US vaccine producer Moderna.
In an interview published Tuesday, Stephane Bancel told the newspaper that statistics on the efficiency of existing vaccinations will be ready in the next two weeks, but experts were not enthusiastic.
“Every scientist I’ve spoken to… says this isn’t going to work,” he told the newspaper.
Bancel’s warning came as G7 health ministers met in an emergency meeting to discuss the new strain, which is spreading throughout the globe and forcing countries to block their borders or impose additional travel restrictions.
Omicron poses an “extremely high” danger, according to the World Health Organization.
According to Bancel, 32 of the 50 mutations detected in the Omicron variety were on the spike protein, a component of the virus that vaccines exploit to boost the immune system’s defenses against Covid.
The efficiency of existing Omicron shots, he told the Financial Times, would “materially decrease.”
Pfizer and Moderna have both said that they are working on an Omicron-specific vaccination.
Bancel said his business could supply between two and three billion doses in 2022, but that switching all manufacturing to an Omicron-specific injection would be risky since other strains of the virus are still in circulation.
His more ominous tone contrasts with politicians’ attempts to exude calm in the face of Omicron.
The tension, according to US President Joe Biden, is “not a reason for alarm.”