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First Move with Julia Chatterley
Powell To Warn That New COVID Stain Could Worsen Inflation; Hospitalization Rise Sharply In Gauteng, South Africa; Authorities Worldwide Report Omicron Cases; China: Winter Olympics Will Be Held Despite Variant; EU Drug Regulator Says Vaccines To Target New Variant Could Be Approved In 3-4 Months; Africa CDC: We Must Scale Up Vaccination In Africa; Snam Announces $26B Investment Plan For Green Hydrogen; Meta Ordered To Sell Giphy By UK Antitrust Authorities. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired November 30, 2021 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Live from New York, I'm Julia Chatterley. This is FIRST MOVE. And here's your need to know.
Variant volatility. Stocks fall as Moderna warns on vaccine efficacy.
Powell's position. The Fed chair to tell Congress Omicron could mean weaker growth and even higher prices.
And Meta Merger Mayhem. UK regulators say Facebook must unwind its Giphy deal.
It's Tuesday, let's make a move.
A warm welcome to FIRST MOVE as always.
Another day where we search for clarity on the new COVID threat. We know patience is needed. But understandably, at times, that's hard to come by.
In the meantime, we speak to those who do have insights.
Joining us this hour, John Nkengasong. He's the director of the African CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to discuss what
they're experiencing with this new variant, their response to border controls and how the world can help.
Also, Kirill Dmitriev the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Now that's helped finance Russia's vaccine efforts. Health officials there say
they can adapt their vaccines, Sptunik V, in 45 days to fight this variant if required.
So, plenty to discuss. Our aim to be measured in a phase of uncertainty as always. And admittedly, is a challenge today.
The CEO of Moderna triggering fresh worries saying existing "vaccines likely to offer less protection" against the Omicron strain, with new
targeted vaccines still a few months away.
We'll bring you some context on that very shortly. But of that of course has created fresh volatility on global markets.
U.S. stock market futures as you can see, a little lower here. Europe is softer too after a weak handover from Asia. We've got to expect this level
There is also a chance that Fed Chair Jay Powell could add to some of the choppiness today too. He is testifying in Congress and will say the new
strain could worsen supply chain problems and make the inflationary surge that we're seeing worse. However, I think we can also expect and to
reiterate, it's still too early to speculate. And this remains key.
Christine Romans joins me now.
Christine, great to have you with us.
We're exactly we think what we were talking about on Friday. We discussed it yesterday as well.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
CHATTERLEY: We are going to see choppiness. We're also going to be very headline driven.
ROMANS: It is. I mean I think there's a lot of headline risk for the next couple of weeks.
ROMANS: As we wait for more information. And I think you're going to hear a lot of pontification. And I'm going to say, we need patience here. Because
the data and the information could be even conflicting in the next days and weeks as scientists start to go through what this variant means.
What the Fed chief is talking about are the three ways, the three factors, potential risks for the U.S. economy. He spoke about inflation. He will
speak about jobs and jobs growth. The people are fearful of going back in person to their jobs. What that means for job creation, job growth and for
wages, in particular. And the supply chain crunch that could be exacerbated or continue if we have this supply/demand imbalance and we have
dislocations around the world in factories. And because of travel lockdowns and the like.
So, we are just in early days, early moments here of understanding what the risks are. We'll also hear from the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen this
morning 10:00 Eastern Time in the U.S., the U.S. Banking Committee, the Senate Banking Committee.
I'd like to know what she has to say about the risks as well. Because the backdrop here is a strong U.S. economy. And of course, she speaks for the
administration. And this administration has been pointing out you know 5.8 million jobs created so far this year, added back I should say into the
economy this year. And a strong economy heading into the end of the year. 5 percent economic growth.
The Fed Chief Jerome Powell will say this year, he is expecting 5 percent GDP in the U.S. That's the best, Julia, since the Reagan administration.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. And this is so important to understand. The relative strength of the U.S economy at this moment. We can handle this, whatever
comes. And I think your point about not seeing the pontification. Actually, the patience is required until we actually understand what we're dealing
with here, when we have the data.
But there is some assurance that they can provide, too. We're not going to raise rates in the face of a weakening economy.
CHATTERLEY: We are there to provide support as we have done over the last two years. I think there is an element perhaps of calm that they can
provide here as well.
ROMANS: I think you are right. I mean the measure of approach they take. And I think when you look at the Powell's testimony, he is playing it very
straight saying these are the risks -- potential risks to the U.S. economy. He is not sugar coating it. This is what they will be looking - looking out
The stocks are up so much over the past couple of years, right, since the bottom, since the collapse in March.
You know I think that investors, stock market investors should be prepared for some activity until we figure out what is - what is going to be the
narrative in terms of the variant heading into the end of the year.
And as you and I have talked about so many times, the vaccines are the way out of this. Right? Vaccines and vaccine equity is the way out of this
mess. So, we all don't learn the entire Greek alphabet.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. Trust the science and act on it. Not just about the science. We have to act.
Christine Romans, thank you so much for that.
ROMANS: Nice to see you.
CHATTERLEY: OK. A voice from South Africa now. A doctor who's treating patients with the Omicron variant says the majority of cases she has seen
have been mild. Dr. Angelique Coetzee, the chair of the South African Medical Association temped with her remarks saying these are early days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANGELIQUE COETZEE, NATIONAL CHAIR, SOUTH AFRICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: The majority of what we are presenting to primary health care practitioners
are extremely mild-to-moderate.
We need to tell you what the symptoms also that the people can understand if they feel fatigue for a day or two, something not the fatigue that you
use, this is a different type of fatigue. If a bit of a scratchy throat and a bit of a body ache and you know, we call it normally malaise. So, I don't
feel generally well. Go and see your doctor. I have seen vaccinated people and not really very sick. That might change going forward. As we say, this
is early days. And this is mainly what makes us hopeful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: I'm grateful to say, Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now.
And Sanjay has a new book out called "World War C: Lessons from the COVID- 19 Pandemic."
Sanjay, always great to have you on the show.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you.
CHATTERLEY: It's anecdotal. It is incredibly early. Can we be hopeful? Can we draw any comfort? Should we draw any comfort from what the doctor had to
GUPTA: I think we certainly have to you know pay attention to doctors like her. She is taking care of patients on the ground. But it is as she pointed
out, early days. I mean, you know, the information will continue to grow over the next couple of weeks.
Big questions. You know, this has become the dominant strain in South Africa. Which is an important data point, Julia. But keep in mind that
South Africa was in sort of a quiet time already. You know they weren't having the big surges for example like we're seeing in the United States.
So, this strain didn't have as much to compete against in places like South Africa. But we got to pay attention to what's happening in Europe and then
see what happens in the United States as well.
As far as severity of illness, again, early days. But let me show you. I put some data from the province in which Johannesburg is located in South
Africa, and what you find.
First of all, it's sort of their late spring there. But if you look at hospitalization rates over the last three weeks, they have gone up. They
have not been that high. But they have gone up, almost, you know, tripling over the last three weeks.
Is that because of this variant? We don't know. But that the sort of granularity of investigation they need to do to figure out exactly what's
going on here.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. As we try and figure it out as well, one of the big questions we're asking is vaccine efficacy. With the vaccines that people
have already taken. And I mentioned already on the show, the Moderna CEO's comments. And I'm going to quote directly to be careful.
There is no world I think where the effectiveness is the same level we had with Delta. I think it's going to be a material job. I just don't know how
much because we need to wait for the data. And of course, that we do.
But Sanjay, I want to get context here, too. Even if there is an erosion of vaccine effectiveness fighting this new variant, it doesn't automatically
suggest that these vaccines are irrelevant, or they provide zero protection. We have to be very careful with assumptions here of any form.
GUPTA: Yes. People aren't used to thinking of it like this, Julia. But typically, you get a significant what's called cushion effect with these
vaccines. So, the amount of antibodies that you're producing in terms of what they do for the disease. We know with the existing variants, there is
a lot of cushion effect from these vaccines.
So not only are they highly protective. They have additional neutralizing antibodies that would offer even more protection in the face of something
like Omicron as we're talking about here. Maybe that cushion decreases. Maybe it decreases significantly. We don't know. I think that's what the
Moderna CMO was talking about there.
What is happening now is two things. They will take this virus, this variant Omicron, they will take blood, serum, from people who have been
vaccinated. Put it into a test tube and see what happens. Does the existing you know antibodies within the blood neutralize that virus? How long does
it take? Does it not neutralize it as completely? Those are the sorts of questions.
And at the same time, following real world data. Looking at what's happening in places where Omicron is circulating widely. Are people getting
sick or hospitalization rates going up? Is it due to Omicron?
So, that's the sort of data that they're collecting. And you know within two weeks or so, we should really know. You know, Julia, they've created
Delta-specific vaccines. They've created Beta-specific vaccines at the time that those became more prevalent. We didn't end up needing them, because
the existing vaccines worked well. So, we'll see what happens here. But that could also be an outcome.
CHATTERLEY: And this is such a great point. We've done this before. We've created a vaccine that's appropriate for a variant. And to your point, not
needed them. The best advice to people, whether we're talking about Delta, quite frankly, or Omicron, this new variant that we're discussing. Book a
vaccine appointment if you haven't already and mask up, I guess.
GUPTA: Yes. And I would say, you know, get a booster as well if you are eligible six months out from the shots. Again, you could be increasing that
cushion effect that I was just talking about. You know, I don't think we're going to boost our way out of this. Hopefully, this will be the last
booster that we need. But then mask up, you say Julia. You know we didn't have these high filtration, high quality masks at the beginning of the
Now they're easily available. Buy some. Get some for the holidays. It's cooler and dryer in the United States, for example. But some of these. Get
some tests as well. We can do at-home tests. There are other strategies, vaccines for sure, but don't forget the other strategies.
Sanjay, we are grateful for you. Thank you so much for joining us on the show.
GUPTA: You got it, Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Appreciate it.
GUPTA: Thank you.
CHATTERLEY: OK. The Omicron variant has now been identified in at least 19 countries and territories worldwide. Japan and the French island of Reunion
are the latest to report cases.
It also appears Omicron has been in Europe longer than we thought. Dutch officials say it was found in a sample from November 19th. That's a week
before the arrival of flights known to have been carrying the variant.
Japan's first case of the Omicron variant was detected in a traveler returning from Namibia. Japan's borders are closed as tough travel curbs
are putting place in response to the new variant.
Kristie Lu Stout joins us now.
Kristie, great to have you with us.
Actually, those restrictions re-added. They were only just taken down earlier this month, I believe. What more are the Japanese saying at this
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And it's not just in Japan but across the region.
STOUT: But look, we're only talking about a handful of cases, but more Omicron infections are being reported across Asia.
Japan this day reported its very first case involving this new variant. It involves a man in his 30s, believed to be a diplomat who traveled from
Namibia to Tokyo. He tested positive at the Narita International Airport.
And also, on Tuesday, Japan has completely sealed its borders to all foreigners. That includes international students as well as people who
maybe wanting to travel to Japan to visit their family members there.
Also, this day, Australia has confirmed its sixth confirmed case of this new Omicron variant. It involves a passenger who flew from Doha to Sydney.
This individual was fully vaccinated and also had some travel history in Southern Africa.
Meanwhile, here in Hong Kong, authorities this day confirmed the three cases of the new variant are all imported. They were caught and
quarantined. They were not caught in the community. But Hong Kong continues to strengthen its already tough border restrictions, some of the toughest
in the world now banning non-residents from a growing list of countries. In fact, it added four additional African countries to that list, including
Angola, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zambia. Back to you.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. Can we talk about Midland China as well? Because I do see comments overnight and of course they follow this zero-tolerance approach
to COVID cases all the way long. And now they're saying, look, we're still planning to go ahead with the Winter Olympics early next year.
STOUT: Yes. It's really interesting. You know despite the fact that you have three confirmed cases of the new variant right here in Hong Kong,
which is a Chinese territory. China remains calm. And China remains confident. So much so that earlier today we're monitoring a ministry of
foreign affairs press briefing and the spokesperson said, yes, Beijing Olympics, just two months away, but we will proceed as planned.
I want you to listen to what the spokesman said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZHAO LIJIAN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY (through translator): I believe it will definitely pose some challenge to our efforts to prevent and control
the virus. As China has experience in preventing and controlling the coronavirus, I fully believe that China will be able to host the Winter
Olympics as scheduled, smoothly and successfully.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: China is confident because China believes in its zero COVID policy, zero-tolerance approach to pandemic control, which involves sealed borders,
strict quarantines, mask testing and tracing campaigns as well as targeted lockdowns. But look, the Omicron variant is a very different beast and it's
hard to be confident given so much uncertainty about this new variant. Julia?
CHATTERLEY: Yes. And we just have to wait for the data and the facts.
Kristie Lu Stout, great to have you with us. Thank you.
STOUT: Thank you.
CHATTERLEY: OK. Still to come on the Omicron front lines.
The head of the African CDC on the emergence of the variant.
And the Omicron optimism. Russia says its Sputnik vaccines should work against the new strain. That's all coming up. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE.
The EU drug regulators says new vaccines to target for the Omicron variant could be approved in three to four months. The European Medicines Agency
Existing says tests to see if existing vaccines are effective, will take about a fortnight to complete.
In Russia, there is optimism that their home-grown Sputnik vaccine will neutralize the Omicron variant. But if a new version is needed, Russian
researchers say it could be ready for mass production in 45 days. For context, Russia like many nations is struggled with the rise in COVID cases
and has a current vaccination rate of the entire population of less than 40 percent.
Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund which has $10 billion under management.
Kirill, fantastic to have you with us.
You sound incredibly confident actually that the Sputnik V vaccine can neutralize this new variant. What makes you so confident?
KIRILL DMITRIEV, CEO, RUSSIAN DIRECT INVESTMENT FUND: Well, I would say, Julia, we are cautiously optimistic. And this is based on the fact that
Sputnik has so far really neutralized all of the existing mutations. And it's unique. And in it's been a viral platform which creates more
antibodies than some of the other platforms. And it's also two different shots which makes it frankly we believe that it's strong and longer
But still just to be cautious, we are preparing a new variant just in the unlikely case we need to change the vaccine a little bit. And as you
mentioned, it will be ready in 45 days for the production. But also, within three weeks, we are doing lots of vaccine of existence. Sputnik serum to
test how it will affect Omicron. But we believe based on the preliminary understanding that our scientists are quite hopeful of a good solution.
CHATTERLEY: So, you are saying around three weeks to be able to present the data on the testing of the current Sputnik V vaccine response to this
variant. Will you then present that data and allow it to be peer reviewed?
DMITRIEV: Of course. And, Julia, we presented data from more than 20 countries that showed real world data on using Sputnik. Just last week,
very important data came from Hungary. That showed Sputnik is number one in protecting against this from quality and comparison with Pfizer and Moderna
and AstraZeneca and Sinopharm with 98 percent efficacy.
So, we have data from many countries coming on Sputnik. And of course, it's been published, included in peer review magazines. Based on Hungary data
was published in a peer review magazine.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. It's -- the peer review is critical here when we're talking about this, want to reiterate that for our viewers as well.
Part of the challenge, and you've mentioned it. It's the sheer number of mutations to the spike protein. And we've discussed this now for a number
of days. Why -- as simply as you can. Why do you say that your adenoviral vector platform is superior to the other vaccines in this specific case?
DMITRIEV: Well, first of all, just to put things in perspective with Omicron. We know that there are lots of mutations, but also those mutations
could actually make the infection less severe, not more severe, different scenarios about the virus. But you can then have some modeling based on the
sequence of the virus.
And we believe once again Sputnik is a very strong vaccine. For example, in trials in Argentina, it showed that it can increase efficacy of some of the
other vaccines by up to 10 times. And this is when they tested combination of different vaccines.
So, we believe if anyone can neutralize from the existing vaccine, Omicron and Sputnik. And also, potency is demonstrated that our duration or
protection lasts longer. So, for example, in San Marino, we showed Sputnik efficacy of 80 percent six months out, where some mRNA declined to 30
percent six months out.
So, we believe Sputnik is one of the most effective vaccines and definitely we will be studying this new variant very, very closely.
CHATTERLEY: I am hearing everything you say, Kirill. And again for - for completeness, the data that you've mentioned from San Marino and Argentina,
again, has that data been peer reviewed?
DMITRIEV: So, data in Argentina has peer reviewed. And by the way, there will be another article published soon in actually one of the magazines in
the world. And so far, there have been more than 20 --
CHATTERLEY: Which one?
DMITRIEV: Hopefully, it will be published in "The Lancet."
DMITRIEV: But there are more than 20 peer review publications of Sputnik from around the world. And once again, for example, this data of Hungary in
a peer reviewed magazine is based on 3.7 million people. Hungary's EU member and its independent research by Hungary that showed that Sputnik is
So, this is not Russian data. It's Hungarian data. And I think there are just misunderstandings that somehow not enough data published by Sputnik.
They're just more true. Including, for example, ministry of health of Mexico is published in safety data on Sputnik. That is just stellar.
So, we have lots of data from many countries in most peer review publication.
CHATTERLEY: I know, it's the authorization. The lack of authorization in certain parts of the world I think that continues to make questions asked.
Kirill, you know when I listen to you talking about the efficacy of the vaccine and we talk about data that has been reviewed and which data hasn't
been reviewed. I just wonder when I look at the vaccination rates in Russia, why more people aren't getting vaccinated? Your vaccination success
in other nations, outside of Russia appears to be better. Why? Why are the Russian people so skeptical on a relative basis?
DMITRIEV: So, first of all, vaccination rate for the whole population in Russia is already close to 50 percent and it's increasing. I think Russia
was a bit of a victim of its own success. Because we had few cases in the beginning. So many people became complacent. And now, acceleration rates
are improving. We hope to get to 60 to 70 percent rate soon.
But you are right. For example, Argentina, Sputnik reduced COVID cases 35 times in the last four months. But also, we have to pay attention to
Europe, where Europe is 80 percent of vaccinated and still have many more cases.
In Russia now, big surge of infection because mRNA vaccine efficacy is vanning in four, five months.
So, Russia needs to, of course, improve its vaccination rates. But the world also needs to pay attention to efficacy of mRNA vaccine. And we
offered combination of mRNA, adenoviral vaccines, fighting COVID together, working better together for longer and stronger immunity.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. I mean we can do -- we can talk about the comparison with you. But I'd rather stick with Russia here. In order to get to that as you
said, the 60 and the 70 percent vaccination, would the government consider a vaccine mandate? Particularly in the face of continued variants, wherever
they're popping up in the world?
DMITRIEV: Well, so far, I believe key people in the government is voluntarily vaccination is really key. Because people need to make their
own choice. And I think we are focusing much more on educating people about vaccination, showing specific results. For example, in Hungary, it is clear
that people with Sputnik it's 130 times less likely to COVID death if you are not vaccinated.
So, right now, the government believes it's about education. It's about sharing information and there is major increase in vaccinations in Russia
over the last month-and-a-half.
CHATTERLEY: Let's talk about supplies very quickly because you've said that you can go into mass production in 45 days, if required. How much can you
produce by the end of this year and obviously 2022, if required?
DMITRIEV: So, we already have great partnerships with 13 countries, more than 20 suppliers in the world, including Serum Institute which is the
largest vaccine producing in the world. So, we can produce 100 million and more of vaccines shots a month.
And specifically, for Omicron variant, if it's needed, we believe we can get to more than 100 million of vaccines by the end of February. So, we
have distributed production around the world. All the production issues have been solved. So, we can be a contributor to the fight, definitely not
be only player. But we believe that we can provide greater than 20 percent of the vaccines need in the world for the next year.
CHATTERLEY: Kirill, thank you so much for your time. Come back, please, when you have more data to share and we'll discuss it. And I also want to
thank you because as our viewers will see - and this is the first for me, I have to say, you are joining us ahead of an important meeting. And
therefore, you joined us from your car.
DMITRIEV: Thank you, Julia. Thank you for having me.
CHATTERLEY: I want to thank you for your time because I know it's precious. And, yes, a car is first for me. And I'm sure probably it's first for you
DMITRIEV: Thank you so much.
CHATTERLEY: Kirill, great to chat and speak to you. Thank you.
Kirill Dmitriev there, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Thank you.
The markets open next. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE.
U.S. stocks are up and running. This Tuesday, the last trading day of November and a softer picture as expected as worried investors search for
some clarity on the new variant threat.
President Biden striking a measured tone rolling out strict new health measures in the United States for now. But Moderna is warning that vaccines
may be less effective against the new strain, have dented sentiment in trading as you can see.
U.S. bond yields falling to near one-month lows as investors rush to safe haven investments.
Twitter investors meanwhile trying to access a different type of risk. Founder Jack Dorsey announcing Monday that he is stepping down as CEO,
shares finishing Monday's session down almost 3 percent amid uncertainty over the company's future path. Shares a touch lower today. As you can see
that stock trading just over $45.5.
Now let's move on. The Omicron variant was first identified in South Africa on November 12th. Now, a little over two weeks later, it's the most
dominant strain in the country. It was found in 76 percent of samples genetically analyzed in November.
Now, scientists race to understand the transmissibility, severity and behavior of the new variant. South Africa and the African continent remain
on the frontlines.
And joining us now is John Nkengasong. He's director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
John, always great to have you on the show. I appreciate your time. And can I also say thank you and to the South African scientists and members of the
medical profession who raised the alarm on this. I think the world should be very grateful.
What can you tell us, sir, so far about what you are seeing not only in South Africa but beyond?
JOHN NKENGASONG, DIRECTOR, AFRICA CENTRES FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: Thank you so much for having me on the program.
As you registered, we must have eternal gratitude to the scientists in South Africa. They have been doing a remarkable job, not just in
identifying this variant but other variants that were reported, the Beta variant.
And there is really the power of networking and the power of bringing signs to drive our understanding of this pandemic. I think we are extremely
grateful as Africa's CDC for their collaboration with South Africa and colleagues.
Now, we know that this variant is spreading very quickly. In South Africa, we begin to see a ticking of the beginning of what I can characterize as
the full wave in South Africa, where the new data and evidence is showing that amid the new infections are driven essentially by the new variant.
So, I think in the coming weeks, it will become more clearer with respect to whether this variant is more transmissible. It will become more clearer
with the severity of the disease is associated with people coming down with this variant. But we know early on that from the doctors that initially,
identified this that the patients came in with very mild symptoms. We just don't know what the next few weeks will look like, so we will continue to
monitor the situation very closely.
CHATTERLEY: And at this stage as you said, it's too early to make any sort of suppositions about severity of illness, vaccine efficacy against this
variant strain, too. Do you have any sense in terms of your investigations already how and where this originated?
NKENGASONG: No, we just don't know. We cannot certain where this originated. I mean, the story goes that first cases were recognized,
identified in Botswana and then subsequently South Africa. But identifying a virus, a news stream or a new variant doesn't mean it came from there. It
just means that the system can pick it up. So, I think that is extremely important.
But anyway, regardless of where it was identified, it doesn't actually have it at all. What matters is how we come together, collaboratively in a
coordinated way, put systems in place that can pick up these new variants and share the information that we can collectively use it to drive or
respond to the pandemic. That is what matters so much.
CHATTERLEY: I mean, your recommendation. I've heard you say it many times. Better data sharing between nations, better surveillance of high-risk
populations, too. Can other nations do more? Particularly at this moment, John?
NKENGASONG: Yes. Everybody should be doing enhanced monitoring like using genomics. Early in May, if you recall, we hosted a meeting of all minsters
in Africa. Where we adapted the strategy and we said we are pivoting force as strategy that will focus on enhanced prevention, enhanced monitoring and
enhanced treatment. And we need that enhanced monitoring.
We actually prioritize the need to increase our pathogen genomics surveillance. And we have since generated about 50,000 genomes across the
continent, as collectively as a network on the continent.
So, that is what we should actually be doing. Will this be the last variant of concern? Absolutely not. We continue to see more variants emerge as
freshly as the level of vaccination is extremely low on the continent. As we speak, a continent of 1.2 billion people has only vaccinated about 6.6
percent of the population fully. And if we continue to vaccinate at that kind of pace, it will lend itself naturally for emergence of new variants.
So, I think we have to be very purposeful, deliberate to a scale of vaccination in Africa.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. And 35 percent of South African adults fully inoculated, I believe, by the last measure as well.
John, what is the holdup? Do you need more vaccines? Particularly for a country like South Africa? Because certainly, what I hear is that there are
enough vaccines. It's just a logistical issue first and foremost in getting those vaccines into people's arms. But there also is a degree of
skepticism, too. How do we fight both of those things?
NKENGASONG: It's a combination of three things. One is initially it was unpredictable access to vaccines. And we are very happy that vaccines that
begin to come through on the continent. That is good thanks to the partnerships and efforts from the African Vaccine Acquisition testing.
Efforts from the COVID.
And also, very importantly the donations that the U.S. government has made. The U.S. government has donated in excess of over 70 million vaccines on
the continent. That is the kind of partnerships that will continue to help us have balance towards an appropriate uptick of vaccines.
The second thing is the population needs to really take ownership of the community engagement. Leadership is so important here. So that we begin to
minimize the issues. It is not an overall characteristic of the population. It is a segment of a population that is some people will just not get to go
out and get the vaccines. I think but that cannot be the characteristics of the entire population.
But we have worked hard for us to convene those people that are skeptical, sitting on the fence to bring them over. So that they can get their
vaccines and time, especially now during this new variant then. We have to bring everybody up to speed and understand that vaccines, the current
vaccines will protect us from developing severe disease and the vaccines are safe, very, very safe.
And we have to also look at the vaccination, the logistics of moving vaccines from the airport to the arms of the people. Those are three
different that we must look at simultaneously.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. I just want to bring it back to what you are seeing on a day-by-day basis here. And earlier on the show, we were looking at the
jump-up in COVID cases that were being recorded in South Africa, specifically.
John, have you done any modeling of where you think just based on the rise and the acceleration in cases that we are seeing, where this might go?
NKENGASONG: If things continue to tick up the way we are seeing in South Africa, then, obviously, South Africa would be joining a dozen of African
countries that are already moving towards a foot wave on the continent. That is as expected. Over the course of this pandemic, we've seen that it
comes in waves and when I call it the tip of the mountain, and when you go to the top of the mountain, it's about two months or three months.
So, we, as a continent, we have seen that - that period now of about two months delay where the peak dropped. And South Africa is not on exception.
But we are beginning to see now that the numbers are ticking up.
And what is more worrying is that we are moving towards the festivities in December and where people will be moving along. But my advice to the
population of South Africa and the entire continent is that as you move towards the holiday season, we should really -- there is a lot we can do to
limit the spread of the infection as a whole on the variant. Outdoors activities, increased vaccinations, for enhanced mask wearing.
I think that is all variants are susceptible. There is no variant that has been proven to go to penetrate a mask. So, we should be wearing a mask and
make sure that we privilege outdoor activities as much as possible.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. And if you have access to a vaccine, go get one. Because at least for now, that's the best protection we've got.
John, great to chat to you. Stay safe. I know you're on your travels as well. So, I do appreciate your time.
And once again, we reiterate our thanks to the South African scientists and the medical community.
John Nkengasong there, director of the Africa CDC.
We'll speak soon, sir. Thank you.
OK. Coming up on FIRST MOVE.
A green hydrogen future. How gas pipeline giant is planning to play a key role in the energy transition. Coming up.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE.
JPMorgan warning Brent Crude oil could hit $125 a barrel next year, $150 in 2023. This comes ahead of an OPEC+ meeting later this week. And as concerns
rise over energy prices, one company is investing for a green hydrogen future.
Snam, Europe's largest gas pipeline operator announcing a multibillion- dollar investment plan to get its infrastructure ready for hydrogen.
Joining us now is Snam's CEO, Marco Alvera.
Marco, great to have you on the show.
I know you're going to talk to me about your investment plans. But one thing leapt out at me. And this was that the company sees and investment
opportunity of 23 billion euros through 2030. And I like the idea of thinking about renewable energy as an opportunity rather than a cost.
Talk to me about this first and foremost.
MARCO ALVERA, CEO, SNAM: That's exactly right, Julia. And thanks for having me.
The numbers you mentioned just earlier about the oil price expectations to go up. Even if we take today's oil prices, we can make solar energy several
times cheaper. But the magic of hydrogen is to blend that cheaper energy and turn it into a molecule. So, it's kind of making everyone happy,
delivering cheaper energy that the oil companies like, that the renewable companies like, and that will create new jobs. SO, it's about cheaper,
CHATTERLEY: OK. You're prolific of the two. And my view as I need to understand this, and your proponent of green hydrogen used in the future.
And in the time that you have been writing, and this comes out in the books that you have written. The costs, as you point out, has dramatically
collapsed. And I'm quoting you from a previous interview that you did. But I want to get your insights and deeper insights.
A $1,000 per megawatt hour to potentially $25 by the end of this decade. And that's according to U.S. Climate Czar John Kerry, if he's correct. And
at that point, we're talking about green hydrogen being comparable to coal prices. That blows my mind. Is that really possible?
ALVERA: Thank you, Julia. That is spot on. So, I now have to publish my third book in three years because --
CHATTERLEY: Because I'm catching up. Yes.
ALVERA: I am always catching up. So, we came up with this view that that was to say how do we squeeze the cost of the electrolyzer. The electrolyzer
is the equipment that you need to turn water, which is H2O and solar or wind energy, which is electricity. You use the electricity to split the
water into oxygen and hydrogen.
Now we all know that wind and solar coming down in costs are ordinary. This is mainly due to the production capabilities of China, the competition on
the supply chain, really streamlining that costs are - and every week the costs are coming down.
But the electrolyzer is something that no one has really looked at and invest in it because it's a tiny, very niche market. So, we interviewed all
of the manufacturers of this equipment and asked them, how much capacity do you need to bring the costs down? Like what's happening with the batteries
in car manufacturing.
And we've come to a number that says, if the world fills 25 gigawatts of global electrolyzer then the costs go down to 50 euros of megawatt hours in
the next five years. Then it competes with oil. Then it becomes cheaper than oil in some applications already in five years.
And if you stretch that further, you get exactly to John Kerry's number. And we shared a lot of this work with his team and we're fully aligned that
we can get to $25 megawatt hour before the end of the decade. And that's the only way really, we can get China and India to stop building the coal
CHATTERLEY: And that is exactly where I was going to take you next. Because if you make the economics work, and it literally becomes equal to in terms
of cost to use oil or coal as to we use renewable energies, then why wouldn't you be greener if you can and get India or China on board, and you
change the game completely.
It's how you are shifting your investment to investing electrolyzer as you've said. Bu obviously, it has to be on a greater scale than just you.
Does everybody understand this? Because clearly, if we're talking about the U.S. climate on voice saying to you, hey, we can get this down to $25 per
megawatt hour. Then the U.S. is surely on board too. Has the investment followed or east the investment intention followed?
ALVERA: So, the investment tension is absolutely there. And I think at Glasgow, this alliance, the G-fans, there's $130 trillion that are waiting
to be invested in projects and there is $150 trillion between now and 2050 of investment needs. So, we have the needs. And we have the capital.
What is missing right now is that gap between the intention and reality is widening. We need projects built fast. And that is what is Snam intends to
do to position the company as a real leader in this new green ambition to create green gases and green molecules. And this will really lower the cost
curve. Because we get to $25 by 2030. The costs will continue to follow.
Now, some analysts at Bloomberg say we can get to $12 by 2046. So, the point as you made is to deliver much cheaper energy, which is greener and
creates jobs and makes everyone happy.
CHATTERLEY: And I think what the viewer also needs to understand when we're talking about your business specifically. I mean you have you the
pipelines. And you're transporting natural gas. And the beauty of this is those pipelines can transport hydrogen. So, the infrastructure is there.
It comes down to the literally the splitting of the water molecules to produce hydrogen and oxygen which is what we're talking about with the
electrolyzer. But the infrastructure for the pipelines, at least. We can utilize the infrastructure that we already have. What about storage?
ALVERA: Thank you so much for raising this. This is a key point. Storage is the least understood challenge and opportunity of the energy transition.
The beauty of this hydrogen and it doesn't matter if it's blue or green because H2 is going to be the same molecule.
We can, as you say, pipe it in the existing pipes. It's the same quality still. But we can store it in the (AUDIO GAP) existing natural gas storage
that can be converted. And we have announced this yesterday. It was the first time in the world.
We believe that it's a breaking news to say we have tried and tested that we can store 100 percent hydrogen in the existing natural gas storage which
has actually are depleted fields. These are old gas fields that instead of producing the gas, we use to pump in the gas in the summer, where no longer
wants the gas (AUDIO GAP). And pump it out in the winter when it's a lot more expensive. So, it's also a tremendous business opportunity.
CHATTERLEY: What response are you having, Marco? Because I know are you out there trying to spread the word. This could be transformative. Is the
greatest challenge lack of education to your earlier point, the connection between the intention to spend money in project-based work? What do you
think is the biggest challenge today?
ALVERA: So, the biggest challenge is the world has to go from spending $1.5 trillion a year on energy. That's summing up all the utilities, all the oil
companies, all the national OPEC oil companies, all the investments. We have $1.5 trillion. We have to get to $5 trillion a year.
So, there's going to be huge bottlenecks when it comes to human talent, when it comes to steel, when it comes to equipment. We need equipment in
the ground. The good news as you say is that a lot of equipment is there.
One of the biggest issues and I'm so grateful that we are having this conversation in dollars or euros per megawatt hour, is that there is an
alphabet soup, when it comes to energy. We have barrels - oil in barrels, coal in tons, diesel in gallons, natural gas and (INAUDIBLE). It's very
hard to compare. So, we should move. And I am on a mission to convince people to move everything to megawatt hours so that we can finally compare
the green, the blue, the coal, the oil.
What is really missing is more conversations like this. Sometimes we go to Harvard University, to Columbia later today, to the Atlantic Council. We
need to have many more conversations like this to people realize it's really the biggest investment opportunity that I have ever seen.
CHATTERLEY: You know, we've run out of time. But you also have 20 years in experience in the oil and gas industry. And I want to talk to you. So, come
back soon please and talk to me about potential resistance. Because it's one of the heavily subsidized still industries in the world, getting them
on board is interesting, too. And I am sure they are shocked by the price collapse that we've seem.
Marco, great to have you on the show. Thank you so much. And thank you also because I knew one day my Physics A-level would come in. Yay!
See you. Great to chat to you, sir. Thank you.
OK, after the break, Meta's Merger Mayhem. Why UK regulators say the Facebook parent must unwind its Giphy deal.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE.
Giving up Giphy. UK regulators want Facebook's parent company Meta to sell the Giphy platform that shows little moving videos. Saying the acquisition
would limit competition among social media platforms.
Paul La Monica joins us with all the details. Paul, I had to do my little wiggle there in a - illustration that I was making quite frankly. But I'm
not sure everyone knows what a GIF is. Why? What do you make of this?
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN REPORTER: Yes. I think it's a precursor to you know more scrutiny on them, which I'll still call Facebook around the world
because of the many acquisitions its done and its tenacles are in all these different parts in social media. With Instagram, and WhatsApp and what have
you. Facebook, Meta, for its part that said that you know they don't plan on you know pulling out of this $315 million deal.
But there are legitimate concerns about whether or not Meta can make it more difficult for rival services, like Twitter and Snapchat and TikTok to
access GIFs or GIFs, depending on the tomato, tomato, argument on how you pronounce it.
You know and I think that is definitely something that we're going to have to watch even though Meta for now doesn't plan on pulling back from this
deal, despite the regulation calls from the UK and others.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. Tomatoes and tomatoes on this show. It's a pip squeak deal, let's be clear. But they're saying that the fact that Facebook was
told - Facebook told them they had to shut their advertising business meant that it was eliminating competition as well, which I found quite
fascinating because relative to the Facebook machine, this is nothing, quite frankly. The bottom line is you are in their sights.
LA MONICA: Yes. I think it is part of bigger global issue. Even though you are right, this is a relatively tiny deal for a company with a market value
near $1 trillion, it really is about whether or not Meta will be able to continue making action.
Yes, you are a bull's eye target. Paul La Monica, thank you for that. I'm being told to shut up as always.
Stay safe, everyone. "CONNECT THE WORLD WITH BECKY ANDERSON" is next. I'll see you soon.