Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna | Photo credits: Andrew Harnik / AP / SIPA
SYDNEY, Nov. 30 (Reuters) – It is unlikely that vaccines against COVID-19 currently available prove to be as effective against the Omicron variant as against the previous strains of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, according to Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, whose comments have revived concerns about the evolution of the pandemic.
It is probably impossible that the efficacy of vaccines against the new Omicron variant “is at the same level (…) as that observed against the Delta variant,” Stéphane Bancel told the Financial Times.
“I think it will be a significant drop. I do not know its magnitude because we have to wait for the data”, he adds, evoking the skepticism of all the researchers with whom he discussed .
A possible increased resistance of vaccines to this new Omicron variant could result in more patients developing COVID-19, more hospitalizations and prolong the pandemic.
The numerous mutations concerning the viral spike protein (the one which allows the coronavirus to enter cells and which is the target of the antibodies produced by the organism – Editor’s note) could make it necessary to modify the vaccines currently used, explained Stéphane Bancel.
Moderna’s CEO previously reported on CNBC on Monday that it could be several months before an effective vaccine against the Omicron variant could be made available.
(Report Tom Westbrook, French version Myriam Rivet, edited by Bertrand Boucey)