The world cannot work its way out of the coronavirus pandemic using existing vaccines, a group of experts said on Tuesday, as they highlighted the need for new jabs that better keep people from getting infected in the first place.
The World Health Organisation’s Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition, known as TAG-co-VAC, said new variants, including highly transmissible omicron variants, show that it can cause severe infections in people. Not enough to prevent disease.
Omicron has rapidly spread to 149 countries and has become the dominant strain in Europe and the main variant behind new cases in the US and data so far suggests it is less lethal than earlier variants However, it is rapidly filling hospitals and overwhelming healthcare workers, and is showing no signs of climaxing.
There are currently more Americans in hospital with COVID-19 than last winter, government data show, and case numbers have climbed more than 200% in the past two weeks.
“A vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable,” The WHO group said in a statement.
“TAG-CO-VAC believes that COVID-19 vaccines with high impact on prevention of infection and transmission, in addition to prevention of serious illness and death, are needed and should be developed,” the statement said. ” “Until such vaccines are available, and until the SARS-CoV-2 virus is developed, there may be a need to update the composition of current COVID-19 vaccines to ensure that the COVID-19 Continue to provide -19 vaccines. WHO-recommended safety levels Against infection and disease by VOCs, including Omicron and future variants.”
The group supported WHO’s position that it is important to achieve primary doses in parts of the world that remain unaffiliated as an important measure to prevent the emergence of future variants that may prove resistant to current vaccines. .
“Omicron is unlikely to be the ultimate VOC,” the group said, noting that it reduces the effectiveness of current vaccines. This is one reason why Omicron has spread so rapidly, as it causes breakthrough infections in people who have been fully vaccinated and even in people who have received a booster shot.
“In practice, while some countries may recommend booster doses of the vaccine, the immediate priority for the world is to accelerate access to primary vaccination, particularly for groups at greater risk of developing serious disease,” in the statement Having said.
Israel is one country that is considering giving a second booster or a fourth shot to those already vulnerable, such as the elderly and those with immunodeficiency.
The TAG-CO-VAC statement called on vaccine developers to “look for ways to achieve a comprehensive, robust and long-lasting immune response to reduce the need for gradual booster doses.”
Options include a monovalent vaccine that is effective against major circulating variants, or a multivalent vaccine containing antigens from multiple variants of concern. The third option would be a pan-SARS-CoV-2 vaccine that would be “a more sustainable long-term option that would vary in effectiveness.”
The global number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to 311.1 million on Tuesday, According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. The death toll topped 5.49 million.
The US leads the world with 61.7 million cases and 840,316 deaths.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccine Tracker showing that approximately 208 million people living in the US have been fully vaccinated, equivalent to 62.6% of the total population, including children who are not yet eligible.
Some 75.8 million have received a booster, which equates to 36.5% of complete vaccinations.