The largest manufacturers in the world of vaccines Covid-19 announced on that they were trying to investigate quickly and adjust their shots to a brand new and modified version of the virus.
The World Health Organization on Friday declared that the latest strain, dubbed omicron, is an “variant of concern” that has a higher chance of re-infection than previous variations that have been associated with the virus.
Pfizer and BioNTech have said that they are examining omicron, initially identified as B.1.1.529 and they are able to adapt their vaccine rapidly if required.
“We understand the concern of experts and have immediately initiated investigations on variant B.1.1.529,” the companies said.
More data from lab tests is expected in two weeks at the latest, Pfizer and BioNTech said.
“These data will provide more information about whether B.1.1.529 could be an escape variant that may require an adjustment of our vaccine if the variant spreads globally,” the companies said.
Pfizer and BioNTech claimed that they are able to modify their mRNA vaccine in six weeks and begin sending batch after 100 days, if an escape variant is discovered.
Johnson & Johnson on Friday announced that they had already tested their vaccine against Omicron.
“We are closely monitoring newly emerging COVID-19 virus strains with variations in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and are already testing the effectiveness of our vaccine against the new and rapidly spreading variant first detected in southern Africa,” J&J said.
AstraZeneca has also said that it is studying the possibility of a variant. The vaccine platform it created in collaboration with Oxford University enables a quick response to mutations that are new that are emerging AstraZeneca said.
“AstraZeneca is also already conducting research in locations where the variant has been identified, namely in Botswana and Eswatini,” the company said.
The various combinations of mutations in the variant “represents a significant potential risk to accelerate the waning of natural and vaccine-induced immunity,” said Moderna, in a statement.
“A booster dose of an authorized vaccine represents the only currently available strategy for boosting waning immunity,” the company said.
Moderna plans to test three booster candidates against omicron, including one at a higher dose level. A booster dosage tailored to the variety will also be developed by the business.
“From the beginning, we have said that as we seek to defeat the pandemic, it is imperative that we are proactive as the virus evolves,” said Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel in a statement. “The mutations in the Omicron variant are concerning and for several days, we have been moving as fast as possible to execute our strategy to address this variant.”
The South African variety includes roughly 50 changes, including more than 30 of them in the spike protein, which allows the virus to attach to human cells. The new variant’s dissemination is still in its early stages, and it’s unclear how serious an infection might be for someone who has been vaccinated.
In reaction to the variation, some European and Asian countries have halted flights from southern Africa. The United Kingdom halted flights from six nations in the area on Thursday, and the European Commission – the EU’s executive body – ordered all 27 member states to restrict travel from the region.
(Adapted from WionNews.com)