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Key Words: ‘This is not going to be good’ — Moderna CEO on what scientists are telling him about the omicron coronavirus variant

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Moderna
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CEO Stephane Bancel has left no doubt whether he’s taking a glass half-full or half-empty approach to the emergence of the new omicron coronavirus variant.

He told the Financial Times there’s no world where current vaccines are as effective as against the delta variant. And he suggested the dropoff could be significant.

“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’.”

The interview put another scare into financial markets, with futures on the Dow industrials
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contract losing more than 500 points. “The major vaccine makers have offered timelines of two to six weeks for assessing its vaccine evading capabilities, and in the meantime, travel shutdowns and behaviour modification are a risk as we await anecdotal and statistical evidence of the spread of the virus and its virulence,” said Steen Jakobsen, chief investment officer at Saxo Bank.

Moderna had previously announced that data on the abillity of its vaccine to neutralize the omicron variant would be expected in weeks as it works to rapidly advance a booster candidate specifically against the variant.

Product sales from its coronavirus vaccine accounted for $4.81 billion of Moderna’s $4.97 billion in revenue in the third quarter.

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