Salem Radio Network News Thursday, January 20, 2022

Health

Regeneron says its COVID-19 drug could be less effective against Omicron

(Reuters) -Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc’s COVID-19 antibody cocktail, and similar drugs, could be less effective against the Omicron coronavirus variant, the company said on Tuesday.

The drugmaker said analysis shows the individual mutations present in the Omicron variant indicate “there may be reduced neutralization activity of both vaccine-induced and monoclonal antibody conveyed immunity”.

Regeneron’s shares fell 2.2% to $639.95 before the bell.

Further analyses are ongoing to confirm and quantify this potential impact using the actual Omicron variant sequence, Regeneron said, adding that there was no direct data yet on whether the antibodies or vaccines confer less protection.

The comments follow Moderna Inc’s chief executive officer, who said COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to be as effective against the Omicron variant as they have been previously.

The comments set off fresh alarm bells in financial markets on Tuesday.

The World Health Organization and scientists have also said it could take weeks to understand whether Omicron is likely to cause severe illness or escape protection against immunity induced by vaccines.

Vaccine makers are already preparing for a situation where their current vaccines are less effective against the new variant, with several companies announcing on Monday that they had begun work on vaccines tailored for Omicron.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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