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Moderna’s CEO has predicted that existing vaccines will be much less effective than previous strains of coronavirus in fighting Omicron.
Stéphane Bancel also warned in an interview with the Financial Times that it would be months before pharmaceutical companies could produce new variant-specific jabs on a large scale.
“There is no world, I think, where [the effectiveness] is the same level. . . we had with [the] delta [variant]“Said Bancel in an interview at Moderna’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
He said the high number of omicron mutations on the spike protein the virus used to infect human cells and the rapid spread of the variant in South Africa suggested that the current vaccine crop may be modified in the next year must become.
Scientists are concerned, he said, because 32 of the 50 mutations in the Omicron variant are on the spike protein. Most experts thought such a highly mutated variant wouldn’t show up for a year or two, added Bancel.
The comments come a day after Joe Biden told Americans that Omicron was “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic”. Despite the risk of the new variant, the president ruled out another round of lockdowns in the US this winter. He also said the US is no longer planning travel restrictions after closing a number of routes from southern Africa, where Omicron was first discovered.
Thank you for all of the responses to my question yesterday about your travel plans. It seems that many of you postpone trips after discovering the Omicron variant, like Jean Turmel returning to Canada from the US 10 days earlier than planned. Keep the comments email@example.com. Here’s the rest of today’s news – Gordon
Five more stories on the news
1. Jack Dorsey resigns as Twitter boss The social network yesterday named Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal to succeed co-founder Jack Dorsey. Dorsey’s decision to leave is part of a truce with activist investor Elliott Management, who urged Dorsey’s removal.
Opinion: Dorsey’s decision to leave is the right one, according to Lex’s investment column. Twitter needs more than a part-time boss, it says, alluding to Dorsey’s dual role as CEO of Fintech Square.
More: The due diligence team learned more about investor reaction to the announcement of Dorsey’s departure.
2. Ghislaine Maxwell is described as a “predator” in court Prosecutors in the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell said on the opening day of the trial in New York that she had “exploited, manipulated and sexually assaulted young girls.” Maxwell, who faces more than 70 years in prison if convicted on any count, denies the charges.
3. US watchdog launches supply chain investigation The Federal Trade Commission has urged retailers and consumer goods companies in the United States, including Amazon and Walmart, to release information about their supply chains to investigate bottlenecks and high prices that are weighing on the economy.
4. Elizabeth Holmes accuses former business associate of abuse Theranos founder charged her former boyfriend and business partner, Ramesh Balwani, of repeated forced sex on her fourth and final day of direct testimony in federal court. Holmes has faced wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracies on 11 cases and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
5. Amazon has ordered a re-run of the union elections A US labor officer ordered a retry of the union formation vote at an Amazon distribution center in Alabama, saying the e-commerce group “essentially hijacked” the process. Amazon has an option to seek a review of the decision by the National Labor Relations Board but declined to testify yesterday whether it would.
European and Asian stock markets and oil prices fell earlier today as trading was dominated by concerns about the Omicron coronavirus variant.
the United Kingdom plans to include all adults in his booster program and cut the gap between second and third doses in half. Meanwhile, companies in the UK are looking to introduce new office rules in response to Omicron.
Health authorities around the world are closely following the rapidly rising wave of coronavirus infections in South Africa and searches there for urgently needed data on the new variant.
The day ahead
Powell faces the legislature Jay Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, will tell lawmakers that rising Covid-19 cases and the Omicron variant threaten to jeopardize the economic recovery in the US. Janet Yellen, Treasury Secretary, will testify with Powell before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
Merits The cloud software company Salesforce reports a result for the third quarter and is said to have benefited from the increasing digital conversion of companies to hybrid work.
Meeting of NATO foreign ministers At the meeting in the Latvian capital, Riga, US Foreign Minister Antony Blinken is expected to brief NATO allies about the latest Russian troop movements on the Ukrainian-Russian border. Belarus announced joint military exercises with Russia yesterday as tensions remain high in the region.
Attend the Investing for Good USA event on December 2nd, where FT journalists bring together institutional investors, asset managers and foundations to discuss how sustainable investing can accelerate the global recovery. Register here.
What else we read
Inflation always punishes America’s left America’s inflation hawks always have a tendency to howl wolf, argues Edward Luce. As they spent the post-2008 years predicting hyperinflation that never happened, it was no surprise that so few people stood up when they issued the same warnings last year. Now the hawks are right, but for the wrong reasons, he says.
Go deeper: Take a look at our inflation tracker, which analyzes the rise in consumer prices around the world, and see how long the trends can last.
The inside story of Pfizer’s vaccine The pandemic has ushered in a massive expansion of state power, from the base of war in economic policy to stay-at-home orders. However, governments have largely relied on private companies like Pfizer to provide medical solutions. Does the dominant Covid-19 jab manufacturer have too much power?
Afghans’ dangerous journey to Britain by boat A high proportion of Afghan asylum applications in the UK are successful. But they have to get there first. Hundreds of migrants who fled the Taliban are now trying to reach the coast of England from northern France after police crackdowns made clandestine rail, truck and car crossings difficult.
Why China’s elite is treading a dangerous path In China, too, the rich and powerful are vulnerable to disgrace, disappearance or worse, writes Gideon Rachman. The phenomenon was highlighted in a 2011 Forbes magazine article: “Friends Don’t Let Friends Become Chinese Billionaires.”
AI makes applications even more miserable Young people today are faced with other, but no less daunting, job interviews in which they answer questions on webcams without being able to interact with a human. But these “asynchronous video interviews” are bad news for both employers and potential employees, writes Sarah O’Connor.
What are non-fungible tokens and how do they work? What Bitcoin is to the US dollar, an NFT is to the “Mona Lisa”, explains global technology correspondent Tim Bradshaw in this explanation of how non-fungible tokens work. There is also a video explaining stablecoins in this # TechFT special report.
Meet the Chinese millennials who reject luxury labels. Young Chinese consumers’ preference for independent designers has had a profound impact on smaller brands.
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