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WHO says its ‘highly unlikely’ existing vaccines will fail against Omicron

19 17 6
08.12.2021

GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — Omicron does not appear to cause more severe disease than previous Covid variants, and is “highly unlikely” to fully dodge vaccine protections, a top WHO official told AFP Tuesday.

Speaking to AFP, the World Health Organization’s second-in-command, said that while a lot remained to be learned about the new, heavily mutated variant of Covid-19, preliminary data indicated it did not make people sicker than Delta and other strains.

“The preliminary data doesn’t indicate that this is more severe. In fact, if anything, the direction is towards less severity,” WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said in an interview, insisting though that more research was needed.

“It’s very early days, we have to be very careful how we interpret that signal.”

At the same time, he said there was no sign that Omicron could fully sidestep protections provided by existing Covid vaccines.

“We have highly effective vaccines that have proved effective against all the variants so far, in terms of severe disease and hospitalization,” the 56-year-old epidemiologist and former trauma surgeon said.

“There’s no reason to expect that it wouldn’t be so” for Omicron, he said, pointing to early data from South Africa where the variant was first detected that “suggest the vaccine at least is holding up in protection terms”.

Ryan acknowledged it was possible that the existing vaccines might prove less effective against Omicron, which counts more........

© The Times of Israel


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