Will Vaccines Work Against Omicron Variant? What Are Manufacturers Saying?
Will vaccines against coronavirus protect you from the new variant 'Omicron'?
Two cases of COVID-19's Omicron variant have been reported in India so far, said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry, on Thursday, 2 December.
Will vaccines against coronavirus protect you from the new variant 'Omicron'? Or is the new variant vaccine resistant?
Omicron was classified as a 'Variant of Concern' (VoC) by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 27 November, but not much is known about the variant yet in terms of vaccine resistance and transmissibility.
"Preliminary evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of reinfection with omicron (ie, people who have previously had COVID-19 could become reinfected more easily with omicron), as compared to other variants of concern, but information is limited. More information on this will become available in the coming days and weeks," the WHO has said.
With different manufacturers indicating that new vaccines may be required to tackle this, here's all we need yo know about omicron and jabs.
In a statement on 29 November, the pharmaceutical company said that it was studying the impact of omicron on its vaccine. AstraZeneca's Covishield is one of the two widely vaccines in India.
"As with any new emerging variants, we are looking into B.1.1.529 to understand more about it and the impact on the vaccine," AstraZeneca said in a statement.
The Anglo-Swedish company added that it is also testing a long-acting antibody combination against the new variant.
"We are also testing our long-acting antibody combination AZD7442 against this new variant and are hopeful AZD7442 will retain efficacy since it comprises two potent antibodies with different and complementary activities against the virus," the statement added.
Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech told Reuters that it is studying whether its indegenously developed Covaxin will work against omicron variant.
"It has shown that it can work against other variants, including the Delta variant. We continue to research on new variants," the spokesperson added.
The partner companies plan to ship the new version of their shot, to combat omicron within the next 100 days, Bloomberg reported.
"I don't think the result will be the vaccines don't protect. But the testing could show that existing shots "protect less," which would mean "that we need to create a new vaccine," Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNBC.
Speaking about the much-talked about antiviral pill against COVID, Bourla said that that he was "very confident" that it would work against omicron.
US-based vaccine maker Moderna has already announced that it will be working on a booster shot against omicron. It will possibly be available by early next year, Moderna's chief medical officer Paul Burton has told BBC on 29 November.
"If people are on the fence, and you haven't been vaccinated, get vaccinated... This is a dangerous-looking virus," Burton told on the show.
Johnson and Johnson
The company has announced that it is "pursuing an omicron-specific variant vaccine." It will progress on it as needed, the company said, in a statement.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said that their jab is effective against omicron but they were also developing an adapted booster.
"In an unlikely case such modification is needed, the new Sputnik omicron version can be ready for mass-scale production in 45 days," RDIF said in a statement.
The company added that several hundred million Sputnik omicron boosters can be provided to international markets already by February 2022.
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