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European stock markets have fallen after the boss of Moderna cast doubts on the effectiveness of vaccines against the new Omicron Covid variant.

Stephane Bancel told the Financial Times he thought there would be a “material drop” in vaccine efficacy.

The Covid variant was first detected in South Africa, and the symptoms have been mild so far.

But travel restrictions have been imposed as a precaution by places including the UK, the EU and the US.

Stock markets fell after the warning by the Moderna chief executive in the Financial Times interview.

Mr Bancel predicted that existing vaccines would be less effective in staving off Omicron, and that it would take months for drugs companies to update vaccines.

“There is no world, I think, where [the effectiveness] is the same level,” he said.

UK’s FTSE 100, Germany’s Dax, and France’s Cac 40 slipped more than 1.5% each, and the pan-European Stoxx 600 dropped 1.5% to hit its lowest levels in nearly seven weeks, before they all regained some ground.

There was also a scramble for safe haven assets such as gold, German government bonds, and the yen.

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