Can Covishield, Covaxin provide protection against Omicron variant? Here’s what experts are saying

Can Covishield, Covaxin provide protection against Omicron variant? Here’s what experts are saying

Just a few days after the detection of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron in South Africa, a global panic has been sparked and the minds of common folk are brimming with a lot of questions, one of which is can the existing COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the variant.

Answering this question with regard to the Indian COVID-19 vaccines Covaxin and Covishield, experts from the country stepped in. Most of the experts have said that enough data is not available about the efficacy of the vaccines against the new COVID-19 variant.

Dr Samiran Panda, the head of epidemiology and communicable diseases division of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), as quoted by ANI, said, “mRNA vaccines are directed towards spike protein and receptor interaction. So mRNA vaccines need to be tweaked around this change already observed. But not all vaccines are similar. Covishield and Covaxin produce immunity through a different antigen presentation to our system.”

Dr Panda further added, “Structural changes have been observed in a newly reported emerging variant which is indicative of a possibility for adherence to cell, cellular receptors with an increased affinity, with the possibility of transmission.”

Meanwhile, Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla on Tuesday said that the data regarding the effectiveness of Covishield against the Omicron variant will be available in the next two to three weeks, according to NDTV reports.

Poonawalla further said that though it is not yet determined if Omicron could prove to be serious or not, it is possible that a booster dose of the vaccine be administered to the public in case the new COVID-19 variant spreads in India. He further insisted that the prime focus should be providing the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine first.

The Omicron variant was detected in South Africa a few days back and has now been detected in multiple countries such as Botswana, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The rate of transmission of the new variant is not known yet, neither is the severity of its symptoms.

The Central government has already issued several guidelines regarding international travel from the countries where Omicron has been detected. All the states and UTs have been asked to strictly monitor the status of all the international travellers from now…Read more>>