Omicron Covid Variant: The CDC found that four-fifths of 43 omicron cases in the United States were in patients who had been completely vaccinated.
Hundreds of Pfizer Inc. employees are preparing to create millions of doses of a new vaccine that appears to be the next step in the fight against Covid-19 at a site 20 miles north of Boston.
Work on the project began on the 70-acre complex near Andover, Massachusetts, the day after Thanksgiving, just as the World Health Organization recognised a new coronavirus strain, omicron, as a variation of concern. The effort’s goal was to develop a personalised booster injection against the highly evolved virus in less than 100 days.
Nobody knows how widespread omicron will spread, how serious the infections will be, or even if the new vaccines will be required. So far, reports on severity have been “encouraging,” according to White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci. However, if laboratory data from around the world is accurate, the strain is better able to avoid existing vaccines than any other strain too far.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that four-fifths of 43 omicron infections in the United States were in fully vaccinated people, despite the fact that almost all of the cases were minor. Omicron is expected to overtake delta as the main strain in the UK within days, according to health officials.
Thirty changes in omicron’s spike, the protein that allows coronavirus entry into cells, have frightened researchers. Antibodies have a tougher time detecting and destroying the variation due to changes in their appearance. As a result, Pfizer, BioNTech SE, and Moderna Inc., a messenger RNA competitor, have begun a crash campaign to attack it directly.
Moderna President Stephen Hoge, who oversees the company’s scientific operations, said, “It was the list of mutations we never wanted to see.” The vaccine company, whose mRNA plant is only 40 miles away from Pfizer’s, began working on omicron on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and meetings continued throughout the holiday. Many employees’ Thanksgivings were “ruined” by omicron, according to Hoge.
According to preliminary laboratory findings, three doses of current mRNA vaccines protect against omicron. It’s unclear how long such protection will persist, given that Covid antibodies have been seen to diminish over time.
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