This week, both the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the biotech company Moderna announced that they have begun clinical trials in which they are dosing people with an Omicron-based vaccine.
But according to public health authorities and infectious disease experts, whether deploying these injections is necessary or even practical remains unclear. nature reported.
According to some, an Omicron-specific shot might not be worth it because cases could plummet before manufacturers can perfect a vaccine.
Others point out that it is difficult to predict whether the next SARS-CoV-2 variant will resemble Omicron, raising questions about the utility of an Omicron-specific shot.
“We strongly believe in [current] Kanta Subbarao, who chairs the Technical Advisory Group on Covid-19 Vaccine Components for the World Health Organization (WHO), said now we have to discuss whether to update the ingredient. .
Even if Pfizer can achieve its ambitious goal – it’s only been months from identification of the strain to test results, said Paul Bieniasz, a virologist at Rockefeller University in New York City. clinical – it may still be too late to be useful.
Subbarao says that Omicron’s dominance as a variant will likely wane by then.
Such a vaccine could work against the dominant variant after Omicron – especially if the virus continues on that genetic trajectory. But no one knows how the virus will evolve, Bieniasz noted.
The Covid vaccine booster is also proving useful against Omicron, but scientists say endless boosters may not be a realistic or sustainable strategy.
Meanwhile, a number of scientists, including from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Global Alliance for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), are funding research. pan-coronavirus vaccine development, the report said.
A broad-spectrum pan-coronavirus vaccine can protect against many strains of SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses.
The World Health Organization is also working to establish a central system for updating Covid vaccines, similar to the current process used for flu vaccines.
The strategy simulates a system currently used to decide on “stress updates” for flu shots, which are updated every six months, The Telegraph reported.