Trevor Noah doubts Moderna CEO is 'objective' in talking up new vaccines for omicron

Comedian Trevor Noah suggested on Wednesday that the CEO of Moderna is pushing for new COVID-19 vaccines for monetary reasons, noting how almost all of the omicron cases recorded have been mild so far.

The host of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah spoke about how Stephane Bancel, Moderna's CEO, is addressing concerns about current COVID-19 vaccines being less effective against the omicron variant of COVID-19. Noah said even though most omicron cases studied so far have not been too serious, Bancel, whom Noah labeled "the guy who stands to gain millions from new vaccines," is already talking about a possible need for revamped vaccines.

"Now, look, I'm not saying the CEO of Moderna is lying, I'm not saying that at all," Noah said. "I'm just saying I don't think he's the most objective source on this topic. I'll wait to hear what neutral experts say about a new vaccine."

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As scientists, including in the United States, study the new variant detected this month, Barcel said on Tuesday the high number of omicron mutations on the spike protein and the rapid spread of the variant, first reported in South Africa, suggested the current crop of vaccines may need to be modified next year, according to the Financial Times.

"I just don't know how much because we need to wait for the data," Barcel said. "But all the scientists I've talked to ... are like, 'This is not going to be good.'"

Barcel has also said it will likely take months to develop and ship a new form of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Noah said if a new vaccine is needed against the omicron variant of COVID-19, "It's not a big deal." Discussing people who are concerned about taking a new vaccine every year, he said that in order not to die, "You might need to take 15 minutes out of your year" to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

A few cases of the omicron COVID-19 variant have been reported in the U.S., with the most recent found in Minnesota and Colorado.

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President Joe Biden announced on Thursday a new plan for fighting the omicron and delta COVID-19 variants this winter.

The nine-step plan includes giving booster shots for all adults, expanding free, at-home COVID-19 testing for U.S. residents, and supplying treatment pills to help prevent hospitalizations and death.

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