Existing Vaccines Can Stop Omicron Variant; Is Less Severe Than Delta: WHO
Amid a number of speculations made globally around the virulence of the novel Omicron variant of the coronavirus, and the efficiency of vaccines against the strain, WHO has clarified that while the new strain is transmissible and has higher chances of mutating more frequently, it is not any more severe than the variants that came earlier to it, like the delta variant.
The organization has also mentioned that any notion about the existing vaccines failing against the new variant should be eradicated.
On Wednesday, vaccine makers Pfizer and BioNTech stated that two doses of their vaccines might not be as effective against the Omicron variant, as a third booster dose.
WHO Clarifies Stance on Omicron Variant
Amid the highly speculated Omicron strain, Michael Ryan, the director of WHO told the news agency AFP that there is no data, as of yet to validate that the new variant is any more deadlier or more severe compared to the delta strain.
A WHO official has, however, ensured that the new variant is more easily transmissible and has higher chances of mutation. He said that the existing vaccines should appear effective to the ones contracting the disease.
“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]”, added the official.
BioNTech, Pfizer on Third Jab for Omicron
Validated by experts, vaccine makers Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Wednesday that two doses of the jab wouldn’t turn out to be effective enough against the Omicron variant, compared to three doses.
This came in as the first independent data from labs, suggesting that the new variant is better at evading vaccine-trained immunity than those before it, stated a NDTV report.
“Boosters will definitely be helpful in keeping the rate of Omicron breakthrough slower,” stated a virologist in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, Canada.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday cautioned that people who have already contracted Covid-19 in the past, are more susceptible to Omicron.