Boris Johnson, Head of Moderna, warns that it will take MONTHS before Omicron is treated. He prepares for a press conference TODAY on Omicron after three new variant cases have been confirmed in Scotland. The total UK number of restrictions now stands at 14

  • Moderna head Stephane Bancel said that the Omicron variant was likely to be a problem and warned against vaccines
  • Experts believe jabs will be less effective in fighting infection but they can still prevent hospitalisation.
  • Today, Scotland revealed two new Omicron cases in Lanarkshire and one in Glasgow. 
  • Boris Johnson will address the nation at a Downing Street press event this afternoon
  • This is after the return to public transport and shops in England of face masks.


The head of Moderna today warned it will take months to develop an Omicron-fighting vaccine as Boris Johnson prepared to hold a Downing Street press briefing — and Scotland confirmed three more cases. 

Stephane Bancel is the head of the vaccine manufacturer. He said that scientists still needed to determine how effective current jabs against this variant are. However, early indications do not support these claims. 

The chief executive said they were particularly concerned by 32 mutations on the spike protein — which the virus uses to invade cells — which would likely lead to a ‘material drop’ in jab effectiveness.

According to Mr Bancel, the Financial Times reported that “all the scientists I have spoken to… were like this: This is not going to work”.

Although experts warn that vaccines may not be as effective in preventing Omicron infections, they will still be capable of preventing hospitalisations or deaths.

The variant could also be more likely to infect people who have had their second jab for over six months. Studies show that anitbody levels dropped by 80 percent during this time.

One Omicron-related case has been reported by Scottish health officials in Lanarkshire. Two more cases have been announced in Greater Glasgow, Clyde and Glasgow. There are 14 confirmed Omicron cases across the UK. This suggests that the strain is spreading within the UK. 

Boris Johnson will host a Downing Street press conference this afternoon to discuss the new Covid restrictions that were introduced this morning.

Today, face masks became compulsory for all public transport and shops across England. People who may be in close proximity to Omicron case victims must isolate themselves for at least ten days.

People arriving from the UK with double vaccinations are required to isolate for at least two days and leave only after they’ve received negative PCR tests.

Britain’s vaccination advisory panel extended yesterday the booster drive to everyone over 18 and reduced the time between second and third doses to three months.

However, it seems unlikely that everyone will get boosted before winter ends. The NHS continues to give out 350,000 shots per day. According to sources, they plan on extending the hours at vaccination centers in order to provide more appointments. Many claim they have yet to be able to obtain appointments. 

Boris Johnson will hold a Downing Street press conference this afternoon on the Omicron variant after new rules came into force in England

Boris Johnson is holding a Downing Street Press Conference today about the Omicron version after new English rules were implemented

The Botswana variant has around 50 mutations and more than 30 of them are on the spike protein. The current crop of vaccines trigger the body to recognise the version of the spike protein from older versions of the virus. But the mutations may make the spike protein look so different that the body's immune system struggles to recognise it and fight it off. And three of the spike mutations (H665Y, N679K, P681H) help it enter the body's cells more easily. Meanwhile, it is missing a membrane protein (NSP6) which was seen in earlier iterations of the virus, which experts think could make it more infectious. And it has two mutations (R203K and G204R) that have been present in all variants of concern so far and have been linked with infectiousness

Botswana’s variant contains around 50 mutations, and over 30 are spike proteins. The body can recognize the older version of the virus’ spike protein with the latest vaccines. The mutations could make spike proteins look different, which may cause the immune system to struggle to recognize it and attack it. It can also enter your cells easier thanks to three spike mutations: H665Y (N679K), P681H (P681H). Experts believe it could be more contagious because it lacks a membrane protein (NSP6), as was the case in previous iterations. Two mutations (R203K, G204R) have been identified in the virus. These two mutations have been found in all known variants and are associated with infectiousness. 

Vaccine-makers Moderna and Pfizer are already working on Covid vaccines that could tackle the Omicron strain, if it poses a problem for the current crop of vaccines, and they could be ready in the first half of 2022

Moderna and Pfizer, vaccine-makers, are currently working on Covid vaccinations to combat the Omicron strain. These vaccines could be ready by the second half of 2022

Moderna is currently working with other vaccine producers to develop a modified version of the jab that will fight Omicron. However, scientists warn that it may take up to 100 days for it to be available.

According to Mr Bancel, his company can deliver two to three million doses by 2022. However, he stated that it was risky to transfer all production to Omicron-specific shots while the other varieties of the virus remain in circulation.