According to what the president of the American laboratory Moderna told the newspaper Financial Times, they may have a difficult time combating the omicron variant with existing covid vaccines.
Stephane Bancel told the newspaper, in an interview published on Tuesday, that the data on the effectiveness of current vaccines against the new strain will arrive in the next two weeks but that, even so, scientists are not optimistic.
“All the scientists I have talked to […] they feel ‘this is not going to be good,’ ”he told the newspaper.
Bancel’s warning coincided with an emergency meeting of the G7 health ministers on the new variant, which is expanding around the world and pushing different countries to close their borders again and reinstate travel limitations.
The World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that omicron represents a “very high” risk.
Also read: Variant omicron represents “a very high risk” for the world
Bancel explained that the researchers are concerned because 32 of the 50 mutations found in the omicron strain are found in the spicule protein, a part of the virus that vaccines use to boost the immune system against coronavirus.
Moderna’s executive president told the Financial Times that there could be a “significant decrease” in the effectiveness of current covid-19 vaccines.
Moderna is working on a specific immunizer against omicron, as well as the US laboratory Pfizer, according to both companies.
According to Bancel, Moderna expects to deliver between 2 billion and 3 billion doses of that formula in 2022, But he warned that focusing all production on vaccines against the omicron variant would be dangerous, since the other strains of the virus are still in circulation.
Also: Ómicron: 3 unknowns and 3 things we know about the new variant of coronavirus that worries the world
An alarmist tone that contrasts with the efforts of politicians to reassure the population about omicron.
US President Joe Biden declared on Friday, November 26, that this new variant “is not a cause for panic.”