Several British scientists tried this Saturday to reduce the alarm created by the appearance of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, considered more contagious, and they point out that existing vaccines are likely to be effective in preventing a serious disease, EFE reported.
Immunologist Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group who developed the preparation Oxford-AstraZeneca, He told the BBC that, although it will still take a while to establish its effects, many of the mutations of this variant are already present in others on which vaccines have been effective.
“From a conjectural point of view, we are somewhat optimistic that the vaccine (AstraZeneca) should still work against the new variant in the sense of preventing the development of a serious disease, although we will have to wait several weeks to confirm it, “he declared.
“Mutations (of omicron) exist in other variants, and vaccines have been able to prevent severe disease in Alpha, Beta, Gama and Delta,” he maintained.
In the opinion of this expert, “it is extremely unlikely that, with a vaccinated population, there will be a return of the pandemic as seen last year.”
It does not represent a “calamity”
In the same vein, the microbiologist Calum Semple, a member of the Sage advisory group to the British Government, told the public broadcaster that the emergence of omicron “is not a calamity”, and urged his colleagues not to “exaggerate” the possible effects .
“The immunity from the vaccine will likely still protect against getting seriously ill. You may have a horrible headache or cold but the likelihood of going to hospital or intensive care or, sadly, dying looks very reduced by the vaccine, and that will continue to be the case, “he maintained.
Semple saw fit for governments to temporarily restrict the entry of visitors from countries with a high incidence of the new variant in order to “buy time” to advance the vaccination program and for experts to determine its true effects.
The omicron variant, which has led many States to suspend flights to southern Africa, worries the World Health Organization (WHO) due to the high number of mutations it presents, since in just two weeks about thirty have been detected, with confirmed cases not only in South Africa but also in neighboring Botswana, Hong Kong or Belgium.
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