Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told the FT that existing vaccines would struggle with the Omicron variant and warned it would take months for pharmaceutical companies to manufacture enough jabs at a sufficient scale to make a difference.
His tone contrasts with the likes of Pfizer and BioNTech, which had earlier suggested any new vaccine would be able to modified fairly quickly.
“His rather candid comments have seen oil prices slide back sharply, as an increasingly jittery market react with concern to the prospects of further restrictions and lower demand,” commented Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, this morning.
As a result of these rather frank comments, markets in Asia dropped sharply and the gains made yesterday in European trading look set to disappear as we look to a sharply lower open later this morning, while US futures have also rolled over, he added.
“As a result of these latest virus developments, markets are also dialling back expectations of when central banks might look to accelerate any normalisation measures.”Michael Hewson
“As we look ahead to the rest of the week, this morning’s drop in markets shows that sentiment is set to remain extremely fickle until we get a clearer idea of what comes next when it comes to the new variant,” Hewson said.
Expectations had been rising in recent days that the Federal Reserve might accelerate the pace of its tapering program when it meets in mid-December.
“This now appears to be up for grabs with markets looking to today’s testimony by Fed chair Jay Powell to US lawmakers to gather clues as to the central banks thinking on the likelihood of this happening,” Hewson pointed out.