One of the vaccine manufacturers, the American Moderna, predicts that the currently available vaccines against the coronavirus will have much lower effectiveness against Omikron. It may take months to produce a new vaccine, said Stephane Bancel, 49, Moderna CEO in an interview with the Financial Times. In turn, Pfizer assured that it is able to create an effective preparation within 100 days.
– The European Medicines Agency was preparing for such an eventuality. Even if the new variant becomes more widespread, the vaccines we have will continue to provide protection, said Emer Cooke, 60, head of the European Medicines Agency (EMA). She added that the EMA could approve new COVID-19 vaccines within three to four months.
A new vaccine for Omikron?
Does that mean we will have to have a new vaccine next year? – It is too early for such considerations, because we do not have the results of laboratory and clinical tests yet. There is a good chance that there will be a reduction in efficiency, but we do not know to what extent. Everything will depend on what the reduction will be and whether it will be related to severe disease and death, or just infection, says Prof. Krzysztof Pyrć (42), virologist and member of the Medical Council at the prime minister. As he adds, the first reliable results should appear in two weeks.
Prof. Joanna Zajkowska from the Medical University of Białystok.
– We do not know what the action of this virus is. Perhaps the course of the disease will be so mild that there will be no need to change the vaccine load. It may turn out, however, that the effectiveness of the generated antibodies will be lower, and then it will be necessary to create a new vaccine. We have to wait for the results of clinical trials and see how vaccinated people get sick, says an infection specialist.
– It remains to be seen in a few weeks if the vaccines are effective against Omikron. There are no native European outbreaks of this variant yet, so only when the European population, the vaccinated one, becomes ill, will we know what the effect of the current vaccines is – emphasizes Prof. Zajkowska.
Expert: 3rd dose required
The expert adds that eligible persons should get vaccinated with the third dose and not wait for new vaccines. “The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, ECDC, is alerting that there may be an increase in Delta disease in late December / early January, so European countries are tightening restrictions and encouraging those who have not done so to vaccinate,” an infection specialist tells us.
On Saturday, ECDC stated that Omikron posed a “high to very high” risk to Europe. ECDC noted that there was “considerable uncertainty about the contagiousness, efficacy of the vaccine, the risk of reinfection and other features of the Omikron variant.” the possibility that current vaccines do not protect against the new variant.
In turn, on Friday, the WHO described the new variant of the coronavirus as “worrying”. When analyzing a new variant of the coronavirus on Friday, WHO specialists identified it as highly contagious. The previous coronavirus variant in this category was the currently dominant Delta variant in the world.
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