Anti-Covid vaccines would be effective against the new Omicron variant

The appearance of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is currently a new problem in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The concern rests mainly on the effectiveness or not of the vaccines against this new variant.

The World Health Organization (WHO), however, reassured that there was still nothing to suggest that the effectiveness of vaccines decreases in the face of the Omicron variant. According to an official, most cases of Omicron infection are “moderate” and not severe. This statement is consistent with that of the Minister of Health of Botswana who announced on Tuesday, November 30, that nearly 80% of recorded cases of Omicron infection in the country were asymptomatic.

The WHO, however, indicated that information on the new strain is still incomplete. Professor Neil Ferguson said one could still wait until the end of the month to get a clearer idea of ​​the real danger posed by this variant.

We are better prepared than at the start of the pandemic

According to the WHO, more than 40 different mutations have already been identified in the Omicron variant. Some of these could correspond to a higher risk of a faster transmission compared to the other variants.

Ferguson explained that with an Alpha strain more severe than the previous one and then an even more severe Delta strain, what was observed was greater severity and not lower severity. However, he said these variants have so far been countered with better treatments with monoclonal antibodies, antivirals and all other drugs. This means that people today have a better chance of surviving severe Covid than at the start of the pandemic.

Limit travel plans

Following the emergence of the new variant, the WHO made a publication that all vulnerable people such as those over 60 should postpone their travel plans. This statement also applies to those who are at risk of developing severe symptoms from Covid-19, including people with co-morbidities such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease.

The organization, however, has indicated that the international spread of the virus cannot be stopped by total travel bans. The latter will, in fact, only weigh heavily on the lives and means of subsistence of the populations.

ʺ They can negatively impact global health efforts during a pandemic by discouraging countries from reporting and sharing epidemiological and sequencing data ʺ, added the WHO.

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