Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel has warned that the existing covid vaccines are unlikely to be as effective against the Omicron variant as they were with earlier strains of covid.

His comments have sparked fresh concern in the financial markets, sending stocks and oil prices lower

Al Jazeera reports: Existing covid jabs will struggle against the “highly transmissible” Omicron variant according to the head of US vaccine manufacturer Moderna, He added that it would take months to develop a new shot that works.

Bancel told the Financial Times that data would be available on the effectiveness of current vaccines in the next two weeks.

“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.’”

Bancel added that the high number of mutations on the protein spike the virus uses to infect human cells meant it was likely the current crop of vaccines would need to be modified.