Vaccine leaders have rushed to put out the fires of Moderna CEO’s jab cautions, urging the world: “Don’t freak out”.
Pharmaceutical heavyweights have been gathering data on the latest Covid-19 variant Omicron, as concerns swell that a tailor-made vaccine may be necessary.
AstraZeneca is already researching locations where the variant has been identified, namely in Botswana and Eswatini, that will enable the vaccine maker to collect real world data, it told City A.M. earlier this week.
Moderna boss Stephane Bancel warned that existing vaccines would struggle with the new strain and that it could take a number of months until enough new jabs are made for them to make a difference.
“All the scientists I’ve talked to . . . are like, ‘This is not going to be good’,” he told the Financial Times.
The gloomy tone toppled London’s market yesterday, with investors jittery as to the outlook of Christmas and the new year.
Beyond the capital, markets across Europe and Asia opened to immediate selloffs. Though the world’s major indexes have since recovered some of their losses.
However, BioNTech CEO and co-founder Ugur Sahin, who developed a vaccine with Pfizer, said that the plan remains the same – to get booster shots into arms as quickly as possible.
“Our message is: Don’t freak out.”
Sahin, an oncologist and immunologist, added that he expects people with both jabs to have a high level of protection against severe illness, even if infected by the Omicron variant.
The calming words mirrored that of Oxford University scientists, who worked on the AstraZeneca jab, who said there was no evidence that vaccines would not prevent severe disease from Omicron
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Monday that the pharmaceutical giant could have a fresh vaccine ready to go within 95 days.