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COVID vaccines should work against Omicron variant, WHO says

Existing vaccines should still protect people who contract the Omicron variant from severe COVID cases, a World Health Organization (WHO) official says.

It comes as the first lab tests of the new variant in South Africa suggest it can partially evade the Pfizer jab.

Researchers say there was a “very large drop” in how well the vaccine’s antibodies neutralised the new strain.

But the WHO’s Dr Mike Ryan said there was no sign Omicron would be better at evading vaccines than other variants.

“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.

He said initial data suggested Omicron did not make people sicker than the Delta and other strains. “If anything, the direction is towards less severity,” he said.

Existing vaccines should still protect people who contract the Omicron variant from severe COVID cases, a World Health Organization (WHO) official says.

It comes as the first lab tests of the new variant in South Africa suggest it can partially evade the Pfizer jab.

Researchers say there was a “very large drop” in how well the vaccine’s antibodies neutralised the new strain.

But the WHO’s Dr Mike Ryan said there was no sign Omicron would be better at evading vaccines than other variants.

“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.

He said initial data suggested Omicron did not make people sicker than the Delta and other strains. “If anything, the direction is towards less severity,” he said.

Omicron is the most heavily mutated version of coronavirus found so far.

It was first identified in South Africa, where there is now a surge in the number of people catching COVID multiple times.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said early signs suggested Omicron could be more transmissible than the current Delta strain.

But Omicron’s ability to cause severe disease is not yet clear.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert, said early evidence suggests Omicron could be more transmissible but less severe.

There have been more than 267 million cases and more than five million deaths around the globe since the pandemic started in 2020, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.


Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by The Sen Times staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds.
Source: BBC


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