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JPMorgan Moves Major Conference Online Over Omicron Concerns

The 40th annual event was set to be held in person in San Francisco in January.
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The Covid-19 omicron variant has forced JPMorgan  (JPM) - Get JPMorgan Chase & Co. Report to moves its annual Healthcare Conference online after attendees dropped out due to fears over the highly contagious mutations.

The bank told participants that the 40th Annual JPMorgan Healthcare Conference was being moved "out of an abundance of caution," according to emails viewed by CNBC. 

“The health and safety of our clients and employees is of the utmost importance and given the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, we have made this decision,” the letter said.

"We were not only hopeful to meet in-person but also understand how much this conference means to the San Francisco community, which we fully support.”

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The annual conference is usually a place for healthcare industry dealmakers, but JPMorgan decided to make the change after biotech firms including Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Moderna, Inc. Report and Amgen  (AMGN) - Get Amgen Inc. Report pulled out of the conference, as was first reported by Stat News. 

The conference had been planned for January 10-13 at the Westin St Francis in San Francisco. When that was still the plan, attendees were required to be vaccinated and masked while indoors.

Omicron is causing varying levels of concern among the business community. 

Housing booking company Airbnb  (ABNB) - Get Airbnb, Inc. Class A Report, for instance, said in a note to analysts that it does not think the recently discovered omicron variant will impact its bottom line all that much.

But the International Energy Agency this week predicted that the omicron variant will decrease the demand for oil, pushing supply growth ahead of demand growth, which could help ease supply constraints in the near-term.