A recent study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) called for the adoption of an Omicron-specific vaccine strategy after it was found that antibodies generated by the Omicron variant of coronavirus can neutralize other strains, including the most prevalent Delta variant.
The ICMR study which took into account the experiences of adults from foreign countries and adolescents from India revealed that individuals infected with Omicron have significant immune responses which could neutralize not only the Omicron but also the other VOCs including the more vicious Delta variant.
“This suggests that the immune response induced by the Omicron could effectively neutralize the Delta variant making the re-infection with Delta less likely, thereby displacing the Delta as dominant strain. This emphasizes the need for the Omicron-specific vaccine strategy,” the study read.
As part of the study, the researchers evaluated the response of antibodies in people who were inoculated with the Covid-19 vaccine and compared the results with those who were unvaccinated. All the individuals were infected with the Omicron variant. The research however has not yet been reviewed by peers.
Meanwhile, Harvard immunologist Dr. Shiv Pillai while talking to ANI has said that Covid-19 will become an endemic, and people will start to live with some level of the virus as it can’t be eradicated. He further added that Covid-19 will turn less virulent, but the Omicron wave may have a “prolonged effect in India”.
“I think it will become an endemic state where we will start to live with some level of the virus, hopefully, less virulent virus. So it’s not such a bad disease for most people. I think that’s where we will end up in maybe a few years. I think vaccinations will get better and the drugs are going to change things a lot. Drugs like Paxlovid and Cipla will probably change the course of this pandemic,” said the Professor of Medicine and Health Sciences and Technology, Director, Harvard Immunology Graduate Program at the Harvard Medical School.
The WHo however issued a caution on Tuesday stating that the risk level related to the Omicron variant remains very high with the numbers of new Covid-19 cases hitting another record high last week.
The UN health agency further added that the number of new infections increased by five per cent in the week to Sunday compared to the 20 per cent rise registered the week before.
“Countries that experienced a rapid rise in Omicron cases in November and December 2021 have been or are beginning to see declines in cases. However, “based on the currently available evidence, the overall risk related to the Omicron variant remains still high,”.