Effectiveness of vaccines against Omicron uncertain as calls for booster dose rise, Health News, ET HealthWorld

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Effectiveness of vaccines against Omicron uncertain as calls for booster dose riseNew Delhi : Primitive study on the effectiveness of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine showed lower neutralizing capacity against the new variant Omicron in comparison to the variant detected in Wuhan at the beginning of the pandemic. The study conducted in the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) in South Africa on samples from people who had received Pfizer Covid vaccine showed that dual doses along with a reinfection was able to effectively evade the new variant, calling for administration of booster doses for effective production of antibodies against the infection.

Highlighting findings from the study conducted on people vaccinated with Pfzer, Alex Sigal, a professor at the Africa Health Research Institute, said, ‘a very large drop’ in neutralization of the Omicron variant relative to an earlier strain of Covid-19.The lab tested blood from 12 people who had been vaccinated with two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, according to a manuscript posted on the website for his lab.”

Meanwhile, the addition of two more Omicron cases detected in Mumbai on Monday took the total cases tally to 23 in India. The first two cases were followed by ten cases in Maharashtra, nine in Rajasthan and one each in Gujarat and the national capital Delhi. The rapid rise witnessed in cases across the globe has raised concerns about the spread of Omicron and the possibility of this variant being detected in new cases recorded within the country.

As the calls rise for booster dose administration to health workers in India due to the onset of highly transmissible variant Omicron, Serum Institute of India on Tuesday said that they will be slashing their Covishield production capacity by 50 per cent in view of no new orders from the Center. Covishield vaccine has been administered to the majority of the Indian population under the vaccination drive along with Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. The current capacity stands at 250-275 million doses a month which was increased two-fold from the earlier capacity of 100-110 million doses.