The combination of infection and vaccination is better than just neutralizing Omicron

Based on the results available, experts at Ashoka University expect that the third omicron wave in India will not affect mortality like the second wave.

Ashoka University today organized a discussion with Dr. Shahid Jameel, Director, Trivedi School of Biosciences, on the ‘SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant’ to answer important questions about the need for booster shots, increasing disease severity, effects of vaccination and previous infections. , Ashok University and Gautam Menon, Ashok University Professor of Physics and Biology. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Hina Latif Nizami, Postdoctoral Fellow of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Jamil said, “Before the emergence of the alarming form of SARS-CoV-2 called Omicron, it was hoped that people in India would be able to return to pre-epidemic life by early next year. But this possibility seems unlikely now. The Omicron variant is by far the most disturbing of all variants due to the number of mutations, 50 in all, and 32 in the spike protein, which makes it significantly more transmissible than the Delta variant. Currently, Omicron-related cases have been reported in more than 63 countries around the world. The nature of the omicron mutation suggests infection, infection and increased efficiency of antibodies and interferon, an early innate antiviral response. “

Dr Jamil added: “New preliminary lab results from South Africa and Pfizer show that the Pfizer vaccine’s virus neutralization capacity has decreased by about 40- and 25-fold. Various studies have shown booster shots to increase the number of antibodies and reduce re-infection. Now is the time for India to develop a policy of booster shots and vaccinations for children. ”

Sharing his insights into the discussion of the new variant, Professor Gautam Menon said, “The news of the emergence of a new Omicron variant from South Africa is worrying. Although we will learn more in the coming weeks, what we do know so far is that this variant spreads more efficiently and may even prevent immunity to previous infections and vaccines against COVID-19. There are some positive indications such as the severity of the illness is probably lower than the disease caused by the delta variant but this requires confirmation. In India, it is imperative for us now to move ahead with the immunization program so that about 15% of the total population in India is completely vaccinated and the rest of the population is given a second dose. Booster shots may be needed, at least initially for first-line healthcare workers, who are about 60 years old and who are immunocompromised, but others may be waiting for them. We need more information on how to use the currently available Indian vaccines as booster and how they can work against the two most widely used vaccines in India – Covaxin and Covishield, the Omicron variant.

In the discussion, both Dr Jamil and Professor Menon said they expect cases in India to increase early next year as it is the experience of other countries, including Israel and the UK, with high-level vaccinations. They also put a note of caution that some of the information we know so far may be inaccurate as more data becomes available. Both experts conclude that the best strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 are still to wear masks, ventilate ventilation, increase physical distance and vaccinations, and that the government’s responsibility for these rests with the individual.

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