OREANDA-NEWS. The effectiveness of vaccines against coronavirus will drop significantly due to the emergence of a new strain of "omicron", said Stefan Bansel, CEO of Moderna.

According to Bansel in an interview with the Financial Times, the vaccines currently available will be much less effective against the omicron strain than with earlier versions of the coronavirus. In his opinion, it will be months before companies can produce drugs on a large scale for new strains.

"There is no such reality, I think, where the efficiency would be at the same level ... as was the case with the delta strain ... I think there will be a significant drop in efficiency. I just do not know how strong it will be, because we need to wait for the data, but all the scientists I've talked to ... think "it won't be good," Bansel added.

Bansel added that the high number of mutations in the spike protein of the new COVID-19 strain and its rapid spread in South Africa suggest that current vaccines may need to be changed next year.

Bansel also said that Moderna plans to produce between two and three billion doses of the coronavirus vaccine in 2022.
Most experts believed that a highly mutated variant of the coronavirus, the omicron, would not appear for another year or two, according to the chief executive of Moderna.

Bansel said earlier that it would take months to create and deliver a vaccine against the new omicron coronavirus strain.