Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Omicron, found in Europe 11 days ago, jolts markets on vaccine fears

GlobalDec 01, 2021 01:31
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
3/3 © Reuters. People wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), ride in a bus in Hong Kong, China November 29, 2021. REUTERS/Lam Yik 2/3

By Ludwig Burger and Emma Thomasson

FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Reuters) -The chief executive of drugmaker Moderna set off fresh alarm bells in financial markets on Tuesday with a warning that existing COVID-19 vaccines would be less effective against the new Omicron variant than they have been against Delta.

However, European Medicines Agency (EMA) executive director Emer Cooke told the European Parliament that, even if the new variant becomes more widespread, existing vaccines will continue to provide protection.

Andrea Ammon, chair of the European Centre for Disease prevention and Control (ECDC), said the 42 cases of the variant so far confirmed in 10 European Union countries were mild or without symptoms, although in younger age groups.

Major European stock markets, spooked by fears that vaccine resistance https://www.reuters.com/world/how-worried-should-we-be-about-omicron-variant-2021-11-27 may prolong the two-year-old pandemic, were down about 1% at around 1300 GMT. [MKTS/GLOB]

U.S. stock index futures were down more than 1%. [.N]

Crude oil futures shed just under 3%, while Tokyo's Nikkei index closed down 1.6% [USD/] [O/R] [US/]

"There is no world, I think, where (the effectiveness) is the same level . . . we had with Delta," Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told the Financial Times https://www.ft.com/content/27def1b9-b9c8-47a5-8e06-72e432e0838f.

"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 be good'."

The University of Oxford said there was no evidence that current vaccines would not prevent severe disease from Omicron https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/how-fast-does-it-spread-scientists-ask-whether-omicron-can-outrun-delta-2021-11-29, but that it was ready to rapidly engineer an updated version of its shot, developed with AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN), if necessary.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "we think it's overwhelmingly likely" that booster shots would continue to protect against severe disease.

LAB TESTS

Moderna did not reply to a Reuters request for comment, or say when it expects to have data on the effectiveness of its vaccine on Omicron, which the World Health Organization (WHO) says carries a very high risk of infection surges.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said its COVID-19 antibody cocktail and other similar antiviral treatments could be less effective against the latest variant.

News of Omicron's emergence had wiped roughly $2 trillion off global stocks on Friday, after it was identified in southern Africa and announced on Nov. 25.

And yet Dutch authorities said the variant had been detected in the Netherlands as early as Nov. 19, before two flights arrived from South Africa that were known to have carried the virus.

Cooke said lab tests for "cross neutralisation" would take about two weeks. If there were a need to change COVID-19 vaccines, new ones could be approved within three or four months, she added.

"Vaccination will likely still keep you out of the hospital," said John Wherry, director of the Penn Institute for Immunology in Philadelphia.

Moderna and fellow drugmakers BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) are already working on vaccines that specifically target Omicron. Moderna has also been testing a higher dose of its existing booster.

Uncertainty about the new variant has triggered border closures that have cast a shadow over a nascent economic recovery from the pandemic, just as parts of Europe see a fourth wave of infections as winter sets in.

Many of the travel restrictions have focused, to South Africa's fury, on banning flights to and from southern Africa.

Japan, the world's third largest economy, confirmed its first case of the new variant on Tuesday, in a traveller from Namibia. Australia found that a person with Omicron had visited a busy shopping centre in Sydney while probably infectious.

BORDER CONTROLS

Britain and the United States have both pushed their booster programmes in response to the new variant. England made face masks compulsory once again in shops and on public transport, and London said international arrivals would have to self-isolate until they get a negative result in a PCR test.

Greece said vaccination would be compulsory for the over-60s, the group seen as most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Australia on Monday delayed the reopening of its international borders by two weeks, less than 36 hours before foreign students and skilled migrants were to be allowed back.

But in Germany, a current hotspot of the previous significant variant, Delta, the seven-day average infection rate fell slightly for the first time in three weeks after new restrictions to slow transmission.

Neighbouring Austria, which imposed its fourth full lockdown last week in response to a surge in infections, also registered a drop.

The curbs on travellers from southern Africa have highlighted the inequality of vaccine distribution, which may have given the virus more opportunities to mutate.

The passenger liner Europa was docking in Cape Town on Tuesday in what was meant to be the official start of the first cruise ship season in South Africa's top tourist hub since the pandemic.

After Omicron was discovered while they were at sea, many passengers were expected to fly straight home.

Omicron, found in Europe 11 days ago, jolts markets on vaccine fears
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (2)
Tan Tan
Tan Tan Dec 04, 2021 22:27
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
after the lampa variant I knew this was coming kanina
wendy cooke
wendy cooke Dec 01, 2021 9:20
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
T CELLS. ITS A FLU
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email