With the new variant of corona virus Omicron exposed in South Africa, there has been a worldwide debate about how effective the vaccine currently available is against omicron variant. So, today we are telling you about How Effective Is Covishield Against Omicron Variant?
Omicron variant is more contagious and dangerous than other variants of the virus, Delta and Delta Plus. Dr. Samiran Panda, Head, Department of Epidemiology and Communication Diseases, ICMR, explained how effective the Covaxine and Covishield used in India to fight against Omicron.
Many countries around the world have been in the offing since the new variant of corona virus Omicron came to light in South Africa. Many countries have changed the rules for international flights. All international flights of South Africa have been suspended.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday also held a high profile meeting sensing the threat of the variant and directed officials to review the decision on international flights again.
It’s Hard to Say Anything Right Now: ICMR.
Dr Samiran Panda, Head of Epidemiology and Communication Diseases, Indian Council of Medical Research has said that it is difficult to say whether vaccines against corona virus can be effective against omicrons.
“mRNA vaccines are created on the basis of spike protein and receptor interaction,” Dr Panda said because these vaccines are made in view of the previous variant of corona virus and Omicron is the new variant of the corona virus, so it’s hard to say anything about it right now.”
WHO on Omicron.
The World Health Organization has placed the Omicron variant in the more infectious category. However, not much is known about this variant. But still reports say it is more contagious than the Delta and Delta Plus variants of the corona virus.
Dr Panda said scientists have seen structural changes in omicron so far. But more study on this variant is required to confirm this. Panda said, “This new variant or strain of Covid has seen structural changes that need to be investigated more on if it is spreading more rapidly among people. Who has examined whether the infection is taking place or whether more deaths are taking place under the influence of this new variant. It is on the basis of these reports that who has placed it in the worrying category.”
However, it is a matter of relief that no death case of this new variant has been reported in India so far but today on 2nd December 2021, a two new cases of this new variant has been found in Karnataka, India.(1)However, the Centre has urged all states and Union Territories to remain vigilant.
How Effective Is Covishield Against Omicron Variant?
Adar Poonawala, head of serum institute of India, a Covishield vaccine maker in India, has also made a statement amid the growing threat of omicrons around the world. Poonawala has said that if needed, a specially made Covishield vaccine for the new Corona variant can be considered.
Adar Poonawala, however, said that in the next 2-3 weeks it will be known how effective the Covishield vaccine is against the new variant. In such a situation, booster dose is also possible keeping omicron in mind if necessary.
Adar Poonawala also said, “Scientists at Oxford University are also doing research now, based on their research, we can consider creating a new vaccine that will work like a booster dose. It is only on the basis of research that we will be able to come to a decision on giving the third and fourth doses of the vaccine”.
However, he also made it clear that a special vaccine is not required to fight the omicron variant.(2)
Poonawala said the company already has adequate doses if a booster dose is required, which will be provided at the same price.
He also said, “We have hundreds of millions of vaccines lying in stock. We have kept 20 crore dose reserves for all the States and Union Territories of India. If the Government announces a booster dose, we have enough vaccine.
However, at present, the priority is to complete vaccination of those people who do not take the 2nd dose of Corona vaccine.
However, the Government has made it clear at present that it has no plans to provide booster doses in the near future. Dr. N.K. Arora, Chief of the Corona Committee at the Centre, had said that the situation is not the same in India and Europe-North American countries.
He said that a large number of our population came in contact with corona infection and the vaccine is providing additional protection.
What the Scientists of Oxford University Say?
Scientists at oxford university have said there is no evidence that existing vaccines will not provide some protection against omicron.
Vaccines have provided very high levels of protection against serious illness despite the presence of new forms in the past year, the university said on Tuesday.
Oxford scientists said Omicron variant has made everyone surprise. Because it has a high number of mutations, which is much higher than the Delta variant.
More Studies Needed on Omicron.
Dr. Panda stated that scientists have seen structural changes in omicrons so far, but more studies are required to find out if this variant of corona is more deadly than other types of Covid-19 variants or not.
“Structural changes have been observed in the new variants which indicate the possibility of rearing the cell with the possibility of transmission, with an increase in cellular muscle (Cellular Receptors), Dr. Panda said. It’s too early to say about the widespread impact of Omicron variant.
But whether the variant is actually spreading rapidly or causing groups of infections… It may take a little more time and needs to be examined. Here investigation means laboratory based observations and population based studies.
Delta vs. Omicron: How Effective Is Covishield Against Omicron Variant?
A study by Lancet released on 30th November 2021 stated that how effective is Covishield against Omicron variant? Study stated that Covishield vaccine was effective in fighting with the deadly delta variant during its boom in India and led to the development of antibodies. Globally, vaccines are capable of combating deltas, although this cannot be said yet about the Omicron variant.(3)
Scientists estimate that omicron can make vaccines less effective as it shares several important mutations with two previous variants, beta and gamma, making them less sensitive to vaccines. However, this is still under research.
Omicron variant has 26 unique mutations, many of them in areas targeted by vaccine antibodies. “So the question is, in fact, how is the transmissible omicron relative to delta,” John Moore, professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, told Reuters. So, this is one of the major thing that we must know.
- Coronavirus live updates: India’s first Omicron cases detected in Karnataka, health ministry says; https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/coronavirus-live-updates-india-and-world-december-2/liveblog/88039431.cms
- Will the Vaccines Stop Omicron? Scientists Are Racing to Find Out.; https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/28/health/covid-omicron-vaccines-immunity.html
- The Lancet Voice; https://www.thelancet.com/the-lancet-voice