“There is no world, I think, where [the effectiveness] is the same level . . . we had with [the] Delta [variant],” Bancel said in an interview with the Financial Times published on Tuesday. “I think it’s going to be a material drop. I just don’t know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I’ve talked to … are like, ‘This is not going to be good’.”
There is still a lot that’s unknown about the Omicron variant, but scientists are racing to determine its severity, transmissibility and whether it evades current vaccines.
Moderna’s Bancel said in a statement last week that the mutations in the Omicron variant were “concerning,” adding that the company has been “moving as fast as possible to execute our strategy to address this variant.”
The world has settled into a “choppy holding pattern, for clarity about just [how] worried, or not, we should be about the new Covid-19 Omicron variant,” wrote Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at Oanda, in a Tuesday research note.
He pointed out that stocks fell in South Korea after the government there shelved plans to ease its Covid-19 restrictions, “highlighting once again, what is really driving markets right now.”
Japan on Tuesday, meanwhile, confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant.
“The fact that markets haven’t completely unwound the Friday meltdowns at least suggests a modicum of caution remains,” Halley added.
Oil prices are also sliding, after collapsing Friday on fears that the variant would hurt energy demand by eating into the amount of people driving and flying. Both Brent crude, the global benchmark, and West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, fell about 2% to trade below $72 and $69 a barrel, respectively.
— CNN’s Junko Ogura contributed to this report.
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