According to a World Health Organization (WHO) official, thee current Covid-19 vaccines should continue to protect those infected with the Omicron variant form becoming severely ill.
It comes as the new variant’s early lab testing in South Africa indicates that it can partially avoid the Pfizer shot.
According to the researchers, there was a “significant decline” in how successfully the vaccine’s antibodies neutralised the new strain.
However, Dr. Mike Ryan of the WHO stated there was no evidence that Omicron would be better at avoiding immunizations than other variations.
“We have highly effective vaccines that have proved effective against all the variants so far, in terms of severe disease and hospitalisation, and there’s no reason to expect that it wouldn’t be so” for Omicron, Dr Ryan, the WHO’s emergencies director, told AFP news agency.
According to initial data, people infected by Omicron did not become sicker than those infected by Delta and other variants of the coronavirus that have been detected so far, he said.
“If anything, the direction is towards less severity,” he said.
According to the latest South African study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine may result in up to 40 times less neutralising antibodies against Omicron than the original Covid-19 strain.
However, Omicron’s capacity to evade vaccination antibodies is “incomplete,” according to Prof Alex Sigal, the study’s lead author and a virologist at the Africa Health Research Institute.
He stated that the results, which were based on blood testing from 12 persons, were “better than I expected from Omicron.”
Prof Sigal believes that immunisation, in combination with prior infection, might still neutralise the variation. This shows that boosters might provide a big advantage.
Scientists believe that prior infection, followed by vaccination or a booster, will likely improve the amount of neutralisation and protect patients from severe illness.
More information on how effectively the Pfizer jab works against Omicron is due in the coming days.
There is currently no major data on how the Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and other jabs compare to the new variety.
Omicron is the most extensively modified coronavirus discovered to date.
It was discovered in South Africa, where there is presently an increase in the number of persons who have caught Covid many times.
According to the spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, early indications show that Omicron may be more transmissible than the present Delta strain.
However, Omicron’s capacity to induce serious illness is unknown.
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious diseases specialist in the United States, preliminary research shows that Omicron may be more transmissible but less severe.
According to research from Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 267 million illnesses and more than five million fatalities worldwide since the epidemic began in 2020.
The quantity detected in this tiny trial is in the vicinity of what scientists expected given Omicron’s significant alterations compared to the original Covid that the vaccinations were meant to combat.
What these preliminary lab data cannot tell us is what it genuinely implies in terms of how well current vaccinations protect individuals all throughout the world.
Neutralizing antibodies, which bind to the virus and prevent it from infecting our cells, are only one component of the immune response to Covid.
Jabs, or previous infection, also activate T cells, which help defend us from the virus.
(Adapted from BBC.com)