Moderna and Regeneron admit Omicron variant ‘wouldn’t be good’

ROME — The CEO of drugmaker Moderna expressed concern about how the world’s existing vaccines will deal with the heavily mutated Omicron coronavirus variant.

In an interview with Financial Times announced early Tuesday, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel warned: “There is no world, I think, where [the effectiveness] is the same level…we had with Delta…I think it will be a material drop. I just don’t know how much because we need to wait for data. But all the scientists I talked to… were like, “This isn’t going to be good.”

In Monday, Bancel told CNBC that his company’s scientists won’t know the effectiveness of existing vaccines against Omicron in a few weeks, and he says that a recycled vaccine could tackle the COVID super mutant May take months to produce.

Global financial markets fell sharply after FT published his interview with the Moderna boss.

Delivering grim news early Tuesday is a preliminary study showed that a mixture of antibodies to Regeneron, the monoclonal treatment favored by former President Donald Trump, may also not be suitable for the super-mutant coronavirus variant. Trump used the drug – which has become a staple among his followers – to treat his own pain with COVID-19 in October 2020.

In a study released by the company on Tuesday, the COVID-19 drug was said to “deactivate Omicron,” which won’t assuage concerns. “What we have to admit is that, over the past six days, our urgency has increased,” said Regeneron Director George Yancopoulos told NS The Wall Street Journal. “What started as a backup plan has now been made much more urgent.”

While experts on the science of the pandemic work to answer important questions about the effects of the new variant on vaccines, treatments and people, anecdotal evidence of a Some people who have been infected with the Omicron strain say it’s not too bad. There have been no reports of deaths reported by people with this variant so far, and South Africa’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases says Omicron is increasing in cases and hospital stays, but there is little patients were treated for more severe illness than in previous episodes of increased severity.

A 48-year-old Italian man identified as Italy’s “patient zero” Omicron told state broadcaster RAI he was feeling quite well. His name has not been released, but he works for the Italian multinational Eni and flew from Mozambique to Italy via Milan on November 12, after he had a negative PCR test in the country. African country.

In Italy, he spent time with his family in Caserta, north of Naples, and then planned to return to Mozambique on November 16. It was there that he tested positive for COVID-19 and thanks trip to Africa. was analyzed and identified as an infection by the Omnicron variant. His entire family of 5, including an 81-year-old grandparent and an 8-year-old child, have since tested positive for the new variant and their contacts, including schools. school that the children attend, is being monitored and tested.

Doctors said they assumed he contracted the disease during a trip to Africa that ended on November 12, not in Italy when he returned – but could not tell when he was infected, because he We are not tested on our return.

“I am pleased to have vaccinated because in our case the vaccine worked very well,” he told Radio RAI on Monday. “Considering the mild symptoms of myself and my family, including those between the ages of 8 and 81, I can say the infection presents itself in a mild way.”

While it’s hardly a scientific sample, he adds that members of his family all have different vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca. His 8-year-old is still unvaccinated because the shot has not been given to children under 12 in Italy.

In the Netherlands, where 61 people on two flights from South Africa tested positive for COVID-19 (among them at least 14 with Omicron), local health authorities said the strong variant had be present in the country when those flights arrive. Positive swab samples taken on 19 and 23 November were positive for Omicron, meaning this variant was present in the water. “It is not clear whether these individuals have ever traveled to Africa,” a health agency statement said, adding that health authorities would begin contact tracing now to determine the extent of the spread. wide range of infectious variants.

Experts say it will take about two weeks to fully understand the extent of the threat Omicron poses. While it’s not the first coronavirus variant – Delta is blamed for hundreds of thousands of deaths around the world – Omicron is cause for concern because it has more than 30 mutations to the mutated protein that allows the virus to bind to human cells. Moderna and Regeneron admit Omicron variant ‘wouldn’t be good’


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