Expert reveals: vaccinated people have “good basic protection” against Omicron

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Austrian Virologist Norbert Nowotny assumes that vaccinated people have “very good basic protection” against Omicron.
The virologist Norbert Nowotny expects the first laboratory data to show how well the Omicron variant, which has mutated in many places, can escape an immune defense built up by vaccination or disease in the next few days.

In an interview with the APA, however, he assumes that vaccinated people have a “very good basic protection” and sees no reason in the new variant with its many question marks not to go for vaccination.

The coronavirus expert sees infection with the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen in people with a weakened immune system as the most likely variant of origin for the omicron variant, which has 32 mutations in the spike protein alone.

While in people with an intact immune system an infection usually lasts only about seven to ten days, this is sometimes significantly different in people suffering from the immunodeficiency disease AIDS or other chronic diseases.

If the virus stays in the body for perhaps even months, and is perhaps put under additional pressure by treatments with antibodies from people who have survived the disease, it can certainly accumulate many changes.

Omicron suspected case now also in Vorarlberg
Investigations with blood samples from vaccinated people
Especially in southern Africa with its many HIV-positive people and unfortunately many “poorly treated AIDS patients”, the conditions for such a development are correspondingly high. “Therefore, I am not surprised that after the beta variant, the second virus variant has now emerged in southern Africa,” Nowotny said.

However, the expert rules out the possibility that the many changes have accumulated because the pathogen has jumped to an animal and then back to humans.

Up to now, “the virus has already tried out a lot of mutations. What we are seeing now, apart from a few newly added changes, are indeed mutations that we have already seen in the previous virus variants.” With so many variations at once now, there is an urgent need for data on what they ultimately do, Nowotny said.

Scientists and companies are therefore working diligently to find out how Omicron reacts to blood samples taken from vaccinated people or people who have already gone through Covid-19. Over the next few days, that information will trickle in. In the delta variant, vaccine protection is only reduced by about eight to 10 percent compared with the wild type, the scientist said. This did not yet make it necessary to adjust the active ingredient.

  • source: k.at/picture:pixabay.com
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