* Drugmaker CEO warns of "material drop" in vaccine
* Mutations mean existing vaccines likely need modifying -
* Financial markets drop
SYDNEY, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The head of drugmaker Moderna
said COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to be as effective
against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus as they have been
previously, sparking fresh worry in financial markets about the
trajectory of the pandemic.
"There is no world, I think, where (the effectiveness) is
the same level... we had with Delta," Moderna Chief Executive
Stéphane Bancel told the Financial Times https://www.ft.com/content/27def1b9-b9c8-47a5-8e06-72e432e0838f
in an interview.
"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
Vaccine resistance could lead to more sickness and
hospitalisations and prolong the pandemic, and his comments
triggered selling in growth-exposed assets like oil, stocks and
the Australian dollar.
Bancel added that the high number of mutations on the
protein spike the virus uses to infect human cells meant it was
likely the current crop of vaccines would need to be modified.
He had earlier said on CNBC that it could take months to
begin shipping a vaccine that does work against Omicron.
Fear of the new variant, despite a lack of information about
its severity, has already triggered delays to some economic
reopening plans and the reimposition of some travel and movement
(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Kim Coghill)