According to the Union Health Ministry data, 9,419 more people tested positive for COVID-19 in a day on Wednesday, while the count of active cases stands at 94,742. The death toll due to the disease has climbed to 4,74,111, with 159 daily fatalities being recorded, according to the data updated at 8 am. An increase of 1,009 cases has been recorded in the total active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.
The Omicron variant of coronavirus can partially evade protection from two doses of vaccine made by Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech, Alex Sigal, the research head of a South African laboratory, said on Tuesday. However, the study, based on preliminary data that has not yet been peer-reviewed, showed recipients of two vaccine doses who had a prior infection were mostly able to neutralise the variant, suggesting booster doses could help fend off infection.
On Twitter, Sigal said there was “a very large drop” in neutralisation of Omicron, compared to an earlier variant. The lab tested blood from 12 people given two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, a manuscript posted on its website showed.
British drugmaker GSK said on Tuesday its antibody-based COVID-19 therapy with U.S. partner Vir Biotechnology is effective against all mutations of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, citing new data from early-stage studies.
The data, yet to be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, shows that the companies’ treatment, sotrovimab, is effective against all 37 identified mutations to date in the spike protein, GSK said in a statement.
Allaying fears regarding the new Omicron variant of Coronavirus that has the world on tenterhooks, US scientist Anthony Fauci has said that early indicators suggest Omicron is not worse than the previous strains of the virus, and possibly milder. However, he admitted that it will still take weeks before the severity of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron can be judged.
More about Omicron
The Omicron variant has been called a variant of concern by WHO based on studies that shows it has several mutations. Still a lot of research is underway to evaluate its transmissibility, severity and reinfection risk. The Omicron variant has been detected in several regions of the world. WHO reports that the likelihood of the Omicron variant spreading further globally is high. It is not currently known if the Omicron variant is more or less severe than other strains of COVID-19, including Delta. Studies are ongoing and this information will be updated as it becomes available. It is not yet clear whether Omicron can spread more easily from person to person compared to other variants, such as Delta. However, being vaccinated and taking precautions such as avoiding crowded spaces, keeping your distance from others and wearing a mask are critical in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we know these actions have been effective against other variants. Researchers are looking into any potential impact the Omicron variant has on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Although information is still limited, WHO believes it is a reasonable assumption that the currently available vaccines offer some protection against severe disease and death. It is also important to be vaccinated to protect against the other widely circulating variants, such as the Delta one. When it’s your turn, make sure to get vaccinated. If your vaccination involves two doses, it’s important to receive both in order to have the maximum protection. According to WHO, early evidence suggests that people who have previously had COVID-19 could be reinfected more easily with Omicron, in comparison to other variants of concern. Information is still limited though and we will share updates as it becomes available. Source: UNICEF
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