Markets Panic Again – Omicron Already In Europe 11 Days Ago, Moderna Admits Current Vaccines Less Effective

Pin It

Nov 30 2021
Linked In

When Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told the Financial Times that existing Covid-19 vaccines will be much less effective at tackling Omicron than earlier strains, including Delta, all hell breaks loose again. To make matters worse, Bancel also said it could take months to develop and ship a new vaccine that specifically targets the Omicron variant.


The Moderna chief executive’s remarks come as politicians and health authorities tried to play down the seriousness of the latest Coronavirus variant. The negative comments from a vaccine manufacturer have indeed upset the global financial markets after a staggering US$2 trillion was wiped off last Friday, when the world began to close down borders again.


Health authorities have said it will take several weeks to get a clearer picture of how effective existing Covid vaccines are in responding to Omicron, the variant known as B.1.1.529 which has rapidly spread in Gauteng, South Africa’s most populated province of 15 million people. But it’s not rocket science that the latest variant could be more infectious and deadlier.


While the Moderna CEO agreed that the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines against Omicron would be known in about two weeks, the French billionaire businessman seemed to be confident that existing vaccines are not effective simply because they were not designed to fight a variant as sophisticated as B.1.1.529, which was given the name Omicron after skipping “Nu” and “Xi”.


US President Joe Biden, in his effort to avoid panic, said the government’s medical experts believe that the current vaccines will continue to provide a degree of protection against severe disease. Therefore, the president argued that while Omicron was a “cause for concern, there was no need for panic”. Pfizer said with three doses of vaccine, it should provide a fairly good protection.


But such assurances clearly lack confidence. Bancel said scientists were worried because 32 of the 50 mutations in the Omicron variant are on the spike protein – about double that number in Delta variant. Theoretically, the number of spike protein (the vehicle used by the virus to penetrate the body’s cells) means the variant has double the ability (or twice as effective) to infect human cells compared to Delta.

Coronavirus - Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine Injection Jab

However, the new variant from the Africa continent could be as high as 5 times more contagious than Delta variant. That’s because the Delta strain’s receptor binding domain (RBI) – where the Covid virus binds and gain entry into host cells – had two mutations. The B.1.1.529, meanwhile, has 10 RBI mutations or five times more than Delta.


Omicron also carries mutations K417N and E484A found in Beta variant, in addition to mutation N440K found in Delta as well as S477N in New York variant. Worse, the variant also has mutations P681H and N679K, a very “rarely seen together” combinations. It’s like a super luxury sports car of Coronavirus that has all the bells and whistles, making it more contagious and deadlier.


The Moderna chief also said that most experts thought such a highly mutated variant would not emerge for another year or two. The fact that Omicron is here already suggests that the rate of mutations were beyond scientists’ anticipation. He also revealed that Moderna’s production capacity cannot be suddenly shifted to Omicron at a time when other variants are still in circulation.

Coronavirus - South Africa Covid-19 New Variant Virus

To add salt to injury, the Netherlands’ RIVM health institute said the Omicron variant had been detected in the country as early as November 19, before two flights arrived from South Africa that were known to have carried the virus. – 11 days ago. The WHO (World Health Organization) said South Africa first reported the variant to the U.N. health agency only on November 24.


It simply means the variant has already spread in the European Union days before it was made known to the public. The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France have now all reported cases in people who were in their countries before the European Union imposed flight restrictions. The WHO warned on Monday that the global risk from Omicron is “very high.”


Oil prices tumbled 4% after Moderna expressed its doubt about efficacy of Covid vaccines. Stocks on Wall Street plunged more than 500 points on Tuesday, after the Dow lost 905 points on Friday, then rebounded by 237 points on Monday. European stocks and shares in Asia-Pacific also tumbled. Obviously, the markets are spooked after Omicron spread to at least 20 countries.

Coronavirus - South Africa Covid-19 New Variant - Vaccine

The Delta variant is capable of escaping immunity offered by Covid-19 vaccines and can cause mild-to-moderate illness, though the shots are still highly effective against preventing serious disease and death. Computer modelling has hinted that Omicron variant too could dodge immunity. In fact, South Africa disease experts believe Omicron could out-compete Delta.


Other Articles That May Interest You …

Pin It

FinanceTwitter SignOff
If you enjoyed this post, what shall you do next? Consider:

Like FinanceTwitter Tweet FinanceTwitter Subscribe Newsletter   Leave Comment Share With Others


It is grossly misleading, if not criminal, to portray that Covid-19 vaccines will make people immune to the virus; but this is how some vaccines are being marketed to the world. It is all about money, nothing about science and battling Covid.

Leave a Reply


(required)(will not be published)