Moderna boss says vaccines likely no match for Omicron

HONG KONG (AFP) – Existing COVID-19 jabs will struggle against the Omicron variant and it will take months to develop a new shot that works, the head of United States (US) vaccine manufacturer Moderna has told the Financial Times.

Stephane Bancel told the newspaper in an interview published yesterday that data would be available on the effectiveness of current vaccines in the next two weeks but scientists were not optimistic.

“All the scientists I’ve talked to… are like ‘this is not going to be good’,” he told the newspaper.

Bancel’s warning came as G7 health ministers held emergency talks on the new variant, which is spreading around the world and prompting nations to close their borders once again or impose fresh travel restrictions.

The World Health Organization has called the risk from Omicron “very high”.