Jake Berry urges government to 'let vaccine do the work'
The variant, first detected in South Africa earlier this month, has already been detected across Europe, with 11 confirmed cases in the UK. CEO Stephane Bancel has said it will take his company between 60 to 90 days to update its Covid vaccine if required.
Pfizer has also reported it will need up to 100 days to update its vaccine.
Mr Bancel spoke to CNBC’s Squawk Box about the new variant to see how much of a risk it poses to Americans.
However, Mr Bancel has suggested the antibodies Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine provides to fight against the virus could be eight times lower against the new strain.
The CEO said: “There are two key things that we don't know yet and will find out in [coming] weeks].
“One is vaccine efficacy. What is the impact of this new variant on the vaccine efficacy, and we should know that in around two weeks.
“We believe this [variant] is highly infectious… it seems to be much more infectious than Delta.”
He added: “Given the large level of mutation it is highly possible that the efficacy of the vaccines, all of them, is going down.”
The variant was first discovered last week in South Africa and according to reports it originated in Botswana.
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SAGE members and health ministers have stressed at the moment scientists know little about the omicron variant, since it first emerged on November 9.
The new variant has 50 mutations, of which 32 are in the spike protein which connects to our cells.
In comparison, the Delta variant which tore through the nation last Christmas, had two mutations in the spike protein.
The world does not yet know how omicron will behave, and whether it will be more or less severe than other waves of Covid strains.
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In the UK six million booster jabs will be available in England alone over the next three weeks, and the Health Secretary has pushed to rapidly extend boosters, as well as reducing the gap between the second dose and booster.