Experts fear a severely limited effectiveness of the existing vaccines against the newly discovered Omikron variant of the coronavirus.
Stephane Bancel, head of the pharmaceutical company Moderna, warns of the effectiveness of the existing vaccines against the new Omikron variant.
The WHO classifies the pathogen as “worrying” and warns of a “very high” global risk.
In principle, it is possible to manufacture two to three billion doses of such a product in the course of the coming year.
Moderna has already started work on a revised vaccine.
However, this will take several months.
Moderna could realistically produce two to three billion doses in the course of the coming year.
Because of the many mutations in the variant, scientists assumed a “considerable decrease” in the protective effect, said Moderna -Chef Bancel of the “Financial Times” on Tuesday. His company has already started work on a revised vaccine, but it will take a few months.
Virologists and vaccine manufacturers have so far been confident that the existing vaccines will also work well against the new variant. Bancel now said: «All the scientists I have spoken to say: 'This will not be good'.”
The Moderna boss referred to information from scientists, according to which 32 of the 50 mutations found in Omikron concern the spike protein. This protein on the surface of the virus is used by the vaccines to trigger an immune response against the coronavirus. “I think the effectiveness is in no way the same level as against the Delta variant,” said Bancel.
Manufacture two to three billion doses of vaccines
< p>Moderna, Biontech/Pfizer and the developer of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V, which has not yet been approved in the EU, have already announced that they will test their vaccines and, if necessary, develop a vaccine adapted to the Omikron variant.
Realistically, Moderna In the course of the coming year, two to three billion doses of such a product will be produced, Bancel told the Financial Times. He also warned against aligning the entire production to the Omikron variant, while other Corona variants are also circulating.
The new coronavirus variant, to which the World Health Organization (WHO) assigned the Greek letter omicron, was reported from South Africa last Thursday. The WHO classifies the pathogen as “worrying” and warns of a “very high” global risk. In South Africa, experts are already expecting the number of cases to explode and Omicron cases have already been detected in many countries.
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