Fri, 12 Aug 2022

Washington [US], November 30 (ANI): Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said that existing COVID-19 vaccines are likely to be less effective against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

"There is no world, I think, where [the effectiveness] is the same level . . . we had with [the] Delta [variant]. I think it's going to be a material drop. I just don't know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I've talked to ... are like, 'This is not going to be good," Chief Executive Officer of Moderna, Stephane Bancel said in an interview with the Financial Times on Tuesday as reported by CNN.

Moderna's Bancel said in a statement last week that the mutations in the Omicron variant were "concerning," adding that the company has been "moving as fast as possible to execute our strategy to address this variant," reported CNN.

With World Health Organisation (WHO) stating that overall global risk related to the new COVID variant Omicron is assessed as very high and may change the pandemic course, health experts in India reiterated not to loosen up the guards as the situation still lies uncertain.Health experts also suggested that given India's population, extreme surveillance and strictest border control with an immediate effect should be imposed.

Dr Neetu Jain, senior consultant Pulmonology, PSRI Hospital while speaking to ANI told, "if Omicron reaches India, the way there is non-compliance to COVID-19 behaviour, it will take no time for the new variant to spread. It is said that Omicron may possibly be 500 times more infectious than Delta, which in itself was 60 times more infectious than Alpha. So the chance of infection is way too high."It has been already stated that a total of 50 plus mutations are already existing, and the variant is building on existing mutations, 32 on spike protein. With questions arising related to vaccine's efficacy against Omicron (B.1.1.529), the expert is of the view that "vaccine efficiency may drop significantly given the 32 spike protein mutations. We may need to reconsider the vaccine policy."Dr Vivek Anand Padegal, Director, Pulmonology, Fortis Hospitals, Bengaluru stated, "previous variants after Delta-like MU have not been as bad as feared and time will tell if this is a variant to be concerned about. It's concerning that there has been somewhat of a surge in South Africa in the last 10 days."The Omicron variant (B.1.1.529), a new variant of the COVID-19, was first reported in Botswana on November 11, 2021, and appeared on November 14 in South Africa. It has been declared a variant of concern by the World Health Organization. (ANI)

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