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Even with a new variant, this is why vaccines and boosters are still the best solution

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“Achieving maximum protection is now more important than ever, and it’s not just for Omicron,” U.S. General Surgeon Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN on Tuesday.

And only 23% of fully vaccinated adults in the U.S. have recovered.

On Monday, following the emerging news of the Omicron variant, the CDC facilitated protection, recommending all those over the age of 18 to obtain reinforcement.

Even if it takes scientists a couple of weeks to better understand the effectiveness of current vaccines against the new variant, this is why public health experts say you shouldn’t wait.

The Delta variant

While the news is focused on the new Omicron variant, it is the highly transmissible Delta variant that is still a major issue in the US. Cases have not yet returned to the lows observed this summer.

On average, the United States is seeing more than 70,000 new cases of Covid-19 and 730 deaths a day, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The boosters work well against the Delta variant. A study published on Tuesday found that a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine reduces the risk of Covid-19 infection by 80% or more, beyond the protection offered by the first two doses.

It’s coronavirus season

Winter is here. It’s a season where people spend more time inside where the virus spreads most easily. One prepress study which was done in Japan last year found that the virus was 19 times more likely to spread indoors than outdoors. Also virus particles spend more time in the drier winter weather and our noses dry out, which can make them more vulnerable to infection.

Families also travel and get together for the holidays, increasing the risk of exposure.

Covid-19 vaccines should offer some protection regardless of the variant

While companies are still testing vaccines to see how they work against Omicron, there are at least some indications that current vaccines should protect people regardless of the variant, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Alic · Allergies and Infectious Diseases.

Vaccines produce a strong, broad immune response that provides an extra cushion of protection, he said.

“Our experience with variants like the Delta variant is that while the vaccine is not specifically targeted at the Delta variant, when you get a high enough level of immune response, you get protection against overflows, even against a variant that The vaccine was not specifically targeted, “Fauci said at a briefing at the White House on Wednesday.

“That’s why we believe that while we don’t have a lot of data on this, there are many reasons to believe that this kind of boost you get with impulse would be helpful, at least to prevent serious illness from variant. com Omicron “.

First confirmed case in the United States of the Omicron coronavirus variant detected in California

The numerous mutations in the new variant make it what Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health on Tuesday called a “slightly different animal.” This can decrease the degree of protection; however, the body’s immune system is “smart,” especially when vaccinated, he said.

“Not only does it increase the level of antibodies, but it increases the breadth of coverage they have from cutting-edge protein that your system hadn’t even seen before, but that is now ready,” Collins said. “It’s this phenomenon that I think will help us here.”

The danger of making more mutants

Getting vaccinated is not just about protecting yourself, experts say, but also about protecting others. The more people are infected, the more likely it is that the variants will evolve in their body.

People who are not vaccinated often take longer to fight infections and this gives the virus more chances to change.

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“The virus mutates when people get infected. It doesn’t mutate in the air, so even if you’ve gotten infected and done well, guess what,” said Dr. Jorge E. Rodriguez, a specialist in internal medicine. in Newport Beach, California and CNN medical analyst said Tuesday. “You may have contributed to mutations that will be stronger, so there is no good infection even if you have survived with minimal symptoms.”

Treatments may not work as well

If you get sick, your treatment options may be more limited with the Omicron variant.

Due to the multiple mutations in the ear protein that Regeneron monoclonal therapies are targeting, the company is investigating whether the treatments will continue to work as well.

The Biden administration considers requiring stricter coronavirus testing for everyone traveling to the U.S.
“More analysis is being done to confirm and quantify this potential impact using the actual Omicron variant sequence,” Regeneron said Tuesday. He said the mutations observed in the Omicron variant indicate that his treatment with monoclonal antibodies, which triggers the immune system, may not work as well against infections caused by the new variant.
Gilead, the manufacturer of remdesivir, the only antiviral approved to treat Covid-19, dit There is no indication that the mutations observed in the Omicron variant limit the effects of the drug, although the company is testing to be sure.

Omicron may not dominate

Scientists do not yet know if the Omicron variant will become the dominant strain as Delta did. Dr. Pere Hotez, dean of Baylor College of Medicine’s National School of Tropical Medicine, believes this is unlikely.

“When you look at the sequence of the virus in terms of its transmissibility, it’s very similar to the Alpha variant that came out of the UK and came to the United States earlier this year, which was more transmissible than the original. lineage but no more transmissible than Delta, “Hotez told CNN on Tuesday.

“From that base, I don’t really think Omicron will necessarily outperform Delta.”

Even if it does not dominate, Omicron could still become a problem for people who have become infected and have recovered and have not been vaccinated, he said.

The new Covid-19 vaccine would take time

If, for some reason, current vaccines do not provide as much protection, there is a safety plan. But it will take time.

Pfizer and Moderna said they are already testing a specific Omicron vaccine against Covid-19 just in case, although they are still trying to find out how current vaccines work against the variant.

Omicron was in Europe long before travel bans on South Africa

“If we really need it, we won’t waste time,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNN on Monday. When the Beta and Delta variants began circulating, Bourla said the company also made vaccines specifically for those variants, but that they were not needed. The original vaccines provided good protection. Bourla believes the same will happen with Omicron.

“I doubt the results are that we can find that we are not protecting at all,” Bourla said.

Moderna’s medical director, Dr. Paul Burton, said he was concerned about this “new key that has been launched in the fight against Covid now,” but he still believes his company’s vaccine offers protection.

“I think we have to assume that a little bit of vaccination, even against a very altered and highly dangerous variant, is very good to have,” he said.

And even if a special vaccine is needed, it will take about 100 days to get it into people’s arms. The Biden administration said it is working closely with manufacturers to make sure new vaccines, if necessary, are readily available.

In the meantime, getting a vaccine or a booster now, instead of waiting, is the best course of action.

“The bottom line is that if you want to maximize your protection against all variants, increasing yourself is the way to go,” Murthy said.

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