The EU drug regulator could approve Covid-19 vaccines that have been adapted to target the new variant within three to four months if needed, the agency's chief said on Tuesday as she said existing shots would continue to provide protection.
Speaking to the European Parliament, European Medicines Agency (EMA) executive director Emer Cooke said it was not known if drugmakers would need to tweak their vaccines to protect against Omicron, but the agency was preparing for that possibility.
"Even if the new variant becomes more widespread, the vaccines we have will continue to provide protection," she said.
Her comments came as drugmaker Moderna's CEO set off fresh alarm bells in financial markets on Tuesday after he warned that vaccines were unlikely to be as effective against the variant first detected in southern Africa as they have been against the Delta version.
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