Moderna CEO’s comments rocked the market | Business and Economic News

The CEO of drugmaker Moderna sounded a new alarm in the financial markets on Tuesday, warning that the existing COVID-19 vaccine is not as effective against the Omicron variant as it is against the Delta variant.

Europe’s leading stocks fell about 1.5% in early trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei index closed down 1.6%, crude oil futures fell more than 3%, and the Australian dollar hit a one-year low as Stephen Bansell’s remarks triggered possible prolonged resistance to vaccines. Worry about the pandemic.

“There is no world, I think, where [the effectiveness] It’s the same level…We are in the same situation as Delta Air Lines,” Bansell told the Financial Times.

“I think this will be a substantial drop. I just don’t know how much, because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I talked to… are saying,’This is not going to be a good thing,'” Bansell Say.

However, to balance this point, Emercock, executive director of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), told the European Parliament that even if new variants become more common, existing vaccines will continue to provide protection.

Moderna did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment, nor did it say when it expects to obtain data on the effectiveness of the Omicron vaccine. The World Health Organization (WHO) said Omicron has a high risk of infection surge.

New variant of the vaccine

Bancel earlier told broadcaster CNBC that it may take several months to start shipping vaccines designed for the new variants.

WHO and scientists also stated that it may take several weeks to understand whether Omicron may cause serious illness or evade protection from vaccine-induced immunity.

Cook said that the “cross-neutralization” laboratory test takes about two weeks. She added that if the COVID-19 vaccine needs to be replaced, the new vaccine can be approved within three or four months.

John Wherry, director of the Institute of Immunology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, said: “Vaccinations may still keep you away from the hospital.”

Moderna and other drugmakers BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson are developing vaccines specifically for Omicron in case the existing vaccines are ineffective. Moderna has also been testing higher doses of existing boosters.

The uncertainty of the new variant has triggered a global alarm, and border closures cast a shadow over the nascent economic recovery brought about by the pandemic two years ago.

On Friday, news about its appearance wiped out about $2 trillion in global stock markets, but some calm was restored on Monday.

Kelvin Wong, an analyst at CMC Markets (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., said: “The information about the omicron variant is rough, and the severity of its symptoms and how easy it is to spread are unknown, as is the effectiveness of the current vaccine. “I expect to face more downside risks in the next few weeks, unless the pressure on omicron becomes clearer.”

Vaccine concerns overshadow positive data from China, which showed that factory confidence improved in November as the impact of the power squeeze subsided and inflationary pressures eased. The Hang Seng China Stock Index closed at its lowest level since May 2016.

Elsewhere, emerging market stocks fell for the third consecutive day, with benchmark indexes hitting a one-year low. Risk aversion also hit cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin falling to $56,000.

Border control

It was first discovered in Southern Africa a week ago. As we all know, Omicron has spread to more than a dozen countries, leading many countries to strengthen border controls to prevent the recurrence of the strict blockade and sharp economic recession last year.

The global restrictions on travelers from Southern Africa (the region where the virus was first discovered) highlight the unequal distribution of vaccines, which may provide more opportunities for the virus to mutate.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “African people’s vaccination levels are unethically low and they cannot be blamed-they should not be blamed for identifying and sharing important scientific and health information with the world. receive punishment.”

The passenger ship Europa docked in Cape Town on Tuesday, which means that the first cruise season in South Africa’s top tourist center since the pandemic has officially begun.

After Omicron was found at sea, many passengers are expected to fly home directly.

India is home to the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. It has approved the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to many African countries and said it is ready to send more vaccines “swiftly” at any time. China has also pledged to provide 1 billion doses of vaccine to the African continent.

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