The emergence of the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron has resulted in a new push for vaccines that can combat this current mutation. Unlike the delta variant and previous strains, Omicron appears to have more mutations making it more resistant to the vaccines that are available currently. The CEO of Moderna, Stephen Bancel has expressed doubts on whether current vaccines would be effective on the Omicron variant.
Omicron; What Next for Drugmakers
Speaking to financial times, Bancel noted that the level of efficacy of the vaccines on the Delta strain is unlikely to be duplicated with the Omicron strain. However, the Centers for Disease Control does note that while it may take time for researchers to determine how effective current vaccines are against Omicron, vaccines are still the best option to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths.
CDC experts warn that even in fully vaccinated people breakthrough infections are likely to occur. This is attributed to the fact that the mutation of the Omicron strain is likely to render some of the current vaccines less effective. This means it is crucial for individuals to keep their immune system strong to build their natural defense against infections. A healthy diet and stress management with remedies such as gsc seeds in UK are some of the simple ways people can use to bolster their immunity.
Staying Safe in the Face of Omicron
Scientists indicate that keeping up with safety precautions including social distancing, wearing masks and sanitizing remain key in minimizing the risk of Omicron infection. Although this new strain of the virus is not as widespread as the Delta strain, researchers have found that Omicron is spreading at a much faster rate and appears to be more virulent.
The UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid, announced that with the current rate of spread the UK could have around one million infections of the Omicron strain by the end of the year. However, it is still unclear whether Omicron infections cause more severe symptoms compared to other variants. Currently, drugmakers from across the globe are working to create vaccines that are effective against the Omicron variant.
Moderna’s chief medical officer, Dr. Paul Burton has indicated that it may take up to 3 months for the company to come up with a vaccine that specifically targets the Omicron variant. Pfizer has also indicated that it may take up to 100 days for the company to develop a vaccine specifically for Omicron.
Researchers have noted that the Omicron variant has more mutations than the Delta variant which may make it more resistant to vaccines. The World Health Organization has designated Omicron a variant of concern based on the assessed risk of reinfection which appears to be higher in this strain.
BioNTech co-founder Ugur Sahin, who worked on Pfizer’s COVID-19, told the Wall Street Journal that vaccination remains the best strategy at the moment. Individuals who are not vaccinated are encouraged to do so and those who are should consider booster shots. Even in cases where the vaccines may not be as effective against the Omicron variant, research suggests that they may reduce the severity of the symptoms and the risk of hospitalization.
Omicron cases have already been detected in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Israel, Italy, Japan, Sweden and other countries meaning that this variant just like the Delta variant is a global threat. However, drugmakers are optimistic that they will be able to develop a vaccine that is effective against the Omicron strain over the coming months.
Since the pandemic started in 2020, the mental and physical toll on people’s health has been astronomical. However, since scientists are learning more about the virus, the emergence of the Omicron strain has found drugmakers better prepared to deal with the new threat. For the moment it remains to be seen just how much impact this new variant will have. In the meantime, a healthy immune system, vaccination and observing safety precautions are the best ways to stay safe from Omicron.