Omicron Variant: Efficacy Of Vaccines Needs To Be Evaluated ‘Critically’, Says AIIMS Chief

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New Delhi: All India Institute of Medical Science chief Dr. Randeep Guleria has said that the efficacy of vaccines against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus needs to be critically evaluated, reported PTI.

“The new Omicron variant of coronavirus has reportedly got over 30 mutations in the spike protein region giving it the potential to develop an immune escape mechanism,” said Dr. Guleria. 

In such a scenario, the efficacy of vaccines including those in use in India needs to be evaluated “critically,” he added. 

Dr. Guleria said that the future course of action will depend on further data that would come in the future regarding its transmissibility, virulence, and immune escape. 

The officials said that the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia INSACOG is closely tracking the new variant of COVID-19 called B.1.1.529. They further said that the presence of the new variant has not been detected yet in the country. 

Dr. Guleria said that it is very important to be vigilant and adopt aggressive surveillance for travelers coming from other countries in the region within the country where the cases have increased suddenly. 

“Also, we must ask everyone to religiously follow Coivd-appropriate behavior and not let their guards down. Also, it has to be ensured that people get both the doses of vaccine and those who have not yet taken the jab are encouraged to come forward to take it,” he said. 

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus was reported by South Africa to the World Health Organization on November 24. The variant has been detected in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong, Israel and other countries. The WHO has designated it as a ‘variant of concern.’

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