Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna.
‘s CEO predicted a “material drop” in the effectiveness of current vaccines against the Omicron variant and warned it could take months for drug companies to manufacture the new jabs at scale. Moderna stock was sliding.
Stéphane Bancel said the spread of the variant in South Africa, coupled with the high number of mutations, suggested existing vaccines may need to be modified next year.
The comments, in an interview with the Financial Times, appeared to send markets lower in late Asian trading. The negative sentiment quickly spread to European markets and U.S. stock futures. Futures for the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
were down around 500 points.
“There is no world, I think, where [the effectiveness] is the same level… we had with Delta,” he was quoted as saying.
“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 scientists I’ve talked to … are like ‘this is not going to be good.’”
Moderna (ticker: MRNA) stock had dropped 5.8% in premarket trading Tuesday. Shares jumped nearly 12% Monday after the drugmaker’s chief medical officer said a reformulated vaccine to tackle Omicron could be ready in early 2022. The stock gained 21% on Friday after Moderna said it was working to rapidly advance an Omicron-specific booster candidate, targeting 60 to 90 days for clinical testing to begin.
Write to Callum Keown at email@example.com