Pfizer advances the development of a variant-specific vaccine for Omicron, available by March. Meanwhile, boost waning general COVID-19 vaccine to prevent serious outcomes.
- The speed of Omicron infection is unprecedented.
- “The overall threat from Omicron variant is likely to be very significant,” explains Dr. Michael Chan of the Hong Kong University who has led the first major study on the new variant.
- “Although two doses of the [Pfizer/BiooNTech] vaccine may still offer protection against severe disease caused by the Omicron strain, it’s clear from preliminary data that protection is improved with a third dose of our vaccine,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer. “Ensuring as many people as possible are fully vaccinated with the first two dose series and a booster remains the best course of action to prevent the spread of COVID-19.” The company hopes to have an Omicron-specific vaccine in March 2022.
- Today there is a smattering of a contradictory indications, yet to be verified about the virility of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2. Generally it is believed the variant’s severity is less than the delta variant. Small indications in Europe say otherwise. The data is scanty. A new, yet-to-be-verified study explains why Omicron disease is less severe for most healthy young patients.
- “Vulnerable patients are still at risk of severe outcomes as is the case with all viruses,” explained two medical experts FPMag interviewed for this article.
- A new study by the LKS Faculty of Medicine at The University of Hong Kong (HKUMed) shows that the Omicron infection in lungs is significantly lower than the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 virus.
- This research finding offers evidence that in general, lower disease severity may be prevalent in the healthy young population which is indeed the data from South Africa. Some indications in Europe signal an alarm. The new research report is currently under peer review for publication. Read on for the specifics …
Read also: How effective are vaccines against omicron? An epidemiologist answers 6 questions
by Sharon Santiago and Micheal John
“I pity fools. Don’t be a fool, get jabbed & wear a respirator mask”
Fans of Mister T, the 69-year-old A-Team and Rocky III star, have been reminded lately by the famous and beloved star that getting fully vaccinated with a booster shot on top of two-jabs is good, common sense. Photo Credit: Larry King Show Inc.
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1.) Omicron appears to evade antibodies from prior infections of the Beta and Delta variants of OCIVD-19, according to a very narrow study. Avoid this disease with a respirator mask, constant hand hygiene, and social distancing, says expert.
Read if you wish: Increased risk of SARS CoV 2 reinfection associated with Omicron
2) Another recently released scientific report points out that the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 thrives in airway passages more than lungs.
Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 (in red) infected human bronchus tissues. Credit: Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. The research was conducted by a team led by Dr Michael Chan Chi-wai, Associate Professor, School of Public Health, HKUMed and Principal Investigator, C2i, HKSTP. The research team included Dr Kenrie Hui Pui-yan, Assistant Professor; Professor Malik Peiris, Tam Wah-Ching Professor in Medical Science and Chair Professor of Virology, Professor Leo Poon Lit-man, School of Public Health, HKUMed; and Professor John Nicholls, Clinical Professor, Department of Pathology, HKUMed.
“It is important to note that the severity of disease in humans is not determined only by virus replication but also by the host immune response to the infection, which may lead to dysregulation of the innate immune system, i.e.: ‘cytokine storm’,” said Dr. Michael Chan, Associate Professor, School of Public Health, HKUMed.
“It is also noted that, by infecting many more people, a very infectious virus may cause more severe disease and death even though the virus itself may be less pathogenic. Therefore, taken together with our recent studies showing that the Omicron variant can partially escape immunity from vaccines and past infection, the overall threat from Omicron variant is likely to be very significant,” said Dr. Chan.
Electron micrograph of the human bronchus tissues after infection with SARS-CoV-2. Red arrows showing viral particles. Credit: Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong.
Six-month ago vaccination will not offer much, if any at all, protection from infection by Omicron.
“I have believed this to have been a foregone conclusion because of the changing nature of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the fact that we know from statistical evidence that immunity built from prior infection does NOT seem to last long, for any variant. The same would be true according to statistical evidence related to immunity afforded by long-ago vaccination,” said Dr. Fred Harris of the Civil Society Partners against COVID-19 tracking team in Singapore.
“That is also true of influenza, as we all know, the vaccination is good for a season, if that long. Hence, it is best to accept the evidence and get vaccinated fully and maintain the prescribed schedule. All available disease mitigation practices are also needed, like wearing a respirator mask, washing hands frequently and staying away from other people, until the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been denied all hosts and the pandemic is over,” the biostatistician and infectious disease researcher added.
“I agree with Dr. Harris,” commented Dr. Nassima al Amouri during a three-way virtual interview.
Vaccine ineffectiveness against Omicron is a concern. Basically, older Pfizer jabs do not work. Get boosted, says even Pfizer itself, but an Omicron-specific vaccine is in development.
“I frankly do not believe that people who were vaccinated fully by August of this year, have today, any significant measure of protection from infection from this new variant that has over 50 mutations, 30 of which relate to the spike protein which is how this thing evades immunity better than any previous variant of SASRS-CoV-2,” she added.
“Getting vaccinated is not enough to avoid infection from the Omicron mutated SARS virus. People must be instructed to wear one of N-95, KN-95, KF94, FFR-2 or any certified 95%+ effective respirator.
Pfizer is developing a vaccine that is relevant to specific SARS2 variant Omicron?
“Some people say it is likely very expensive to create new vaccines for Omicron. Another factor, the older vaccines and boosters in the millions would sit on a shelf, wasted and unsold, until expiration, if Pfizer introduced a more effective vaccine with Omicron specificity immediately. I do not know. Is it about economics? Not for patients, it isn’t. It’s about their health. Tell people to take command of their own health prospects and wear a respirator, and keep their hands clean,” added Dr. Nassima al Amouri. “Genuine respirator masks provide 95% efficacy against pathogens if worn properly.”
According to Pfizer and BioNTech on Wednesday, December 08, 2021:
- “Preliminary laboratory studies demonstrate that three doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine neutralize the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529 lineage) while two doses show significantly reduced neutralization titers
- “Data indicate that a third dose of BNT162b2 increases the neutralizing antibody titers by 25-fold compared to two doses against the Omicron variant; titers after the booster dose are comparable to titers observed after two doses against the wild-type virus which are associated with high levels of protection
- “As 80% of epitopes in the spike protein recognized by CD8+ T cells are not affected by the mutations in the Omicron variant, two doses may still induce protection against severe disease
- “The companies continue to advance the development of a variant-specific vaccine for Omicron and expect to have it available by March in the event that an adaption is needed to further increase the level and duration of protection – with no change expected to the companies’ four billion dose capacity for 2022.” Citing a Pfizer-BioNTech release.
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COVID-19 pandemic, endemic smallpox, polio, measles, pertussis & rubella are vaccine-preventable disease only if all humans maintain the resistance. Some disease are spreading because of never-established or waning immunity. That’s the case for universal immunization mandates and keeping the human race alive. Photo Credit: Melissa Hemingway / Feminine-Perspective Magazine