The WHO (World Health Organization) advises vulnerable people and people over 60 not to travel. The Omicron variant is of concern because it can be highly contagious, but also because the effectiveness of vaccines, in light of that, remains uncertain.
Since its appearance less than a week ago, Omicron has become the center of attention of the scientific community, posing a central question: Will current vaccines be potent enough against this new variant? Will the booster dose be enough? Omicron has a peculiarity: the number of mutations is much more numerous than in the Delta variant. However, the Institut Pasteur wants to have confidence. “We know exactly the sequence of this virus […] It is not expected to be completely resistant to vaccination”, announces Olivier Schwartz, head of the virus and immunity unit at the Institut Pasteur.
The world’s leading labs have already started testing to check whether their vaccine is resistant to Omicron. But will a new vaccine be needed to be more effective? According to Steve Pascolo, an immunologist and researcher at the University Hospital of Zurich, the messenger RNA technology used by Pfizer or Moderna can adapt as needed. Moderna says she could be ready in six or seven months. Pfizer announces it wants to go faster, in less than 100 days. A speed that confuses the scientific council. Pending a possible new vaccine, Moderna proposes to increase the dose of the booster, to protect itself against Omicron.
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