In this file photo, vials of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine can be seen Photograph:( AFP )
Moderna said the company is working to address the new threat and it will also increase the dose of its existing vaccine
The US pharmaceutical company Moderna is going to develop a booster dose against the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Moderna said the company is working to address the new threat and it will also increase the dose of its existing vaccine.
According to Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel, "The mutations in the Omicron variant are concerning, and for several days, we have been moving as fast as possible to execute our strategy to address this variant."
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said Omicron may spread more quickly than other forms, and preliminary evidence suggested there is an increased risk of reinfection.
The UN health agency's emergencies director Mike Ryan said "It's really important that there are no knee-jerk responses."
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva wrote on Twitter, "Failure to help vaccinate sub-Saharan Africa - still barely 4% of the population - left us all exposed to risk of a new, more virulent #COVID variant."
Failure to help vaccinate sub-Saharan Africa—still barely 4% of the population—left us all exposed to risk of a new, more virulent #COVIDvariant.— Kristalina Georgieva (@KGeorgieva) November 26, 2021
News of #Omicron is an urgent reminder of why we need to do even more to vaccinate the world.https://t.co/3qJwgZHdfA pic.twitter.com/vEtwg6Wq3y
The variant has a spike protein that is dramatically different than the one in the original coronavirus that vaccines are based on, the UK Health Security Agency said, raising fears about how current vaccines will fare.
Epidemiologists warned travel curbs may be too late to stop Omicron from circulating globally.
The new mutations were first discovered in South Africa and have since been detected in Belgium, Botswana, Israel, and Hong Kong.
Lawrence Young, a virologist at Britain's University of Warwick, said "This new variant of the COVID-19 virus is very worrying. It is the most heavily mutated version of the virus we have seen to date."
"Some of the mutations that are similar to changes we've seen in other variants of concern are associated with enhanced transmissibility and with partial resistance to immunity induced by vaccination or natural infection."
(With inputs from agencies)