The World Health Organization said Friday it knows of no deaths resulting from the omicron Covid strain and that people shouldn’t panic, with delta remaining the chief global variant.
Delta now is responsible for 99% of all COVID infections, Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’s chief scientist, told Reuters.
There’s no way of knowing whether omicron will ultimately take over, he said. That new strain has hit at least 25 countries so far.
Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson Should Be Ready
WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a U.N. briefing that vaccine makers should prepare to adjust their products to counteract omicron, Reuters reported.
And Ugur Sahin, CEO of Germany's BioNTech BNTC, which makes a COVID-19 vaccine with Pfizer (PFE), told the news agency that his company is capable of making the change quickly.
Moderna Shares Rise
Meanwhile Friday, Moderna MRNA shares climbed following a report that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is laying the groundwork for the rapid review of omicron-targeted vaccines and drugs if they are needed.
Cambridge, Mass.-based Moderna closed at $306.72, up 1.7% . Pfizer closed at $54.27, up 2.3%, and BioNTech at $344.06, up 3.2%.
The FDA has been meeting with drugmakers and setting guidelines for the studies and data needed to swiftly evaluate products targeting the omicron Covid-19 variant, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing knowledgeable sources.
The agency is building on rules established earlier this year to assess shots and treatments.
Under the rules that the FDA is putting into place, drugmakers working on new vaccines would be expected to meet standards similar to those required for authorization of boosters.